The Illinois House of Representatives goes into session at noon today, Monday, for what will be the final week of the legislative session. This is our last best effort to rebalance the disability system. The Senate got cold feet and voted to fund state institutions. We cannot let this happen in the House. This could be the most important call you make to your elected representative.You need to call your House member(s) at their Springfield offices Monday & Tuesday tell them: “Do not to vote for a state budget that funds state institutions.”
Here is a letter I sent to all the major news outlets on Saturday.
State lawmakers are up to their old tricks again, playing election year politics instead of making smart decision to pass a state budget that’s in the best interest of Illinoisans. Our elected leaders in the Senate have failed to pass a responsible budget that closes state institutions, redirecting those precious dollars to serve more people with disabilities so they can live a full, independent and meaningful life in the community near family and friends.
It is shameful that people with disabilities will continue to languish because of the Senates disgraceful vote to fund Jacksonville and Murray Developmental Centers. Lets hope the House shows some leadership and embraces the Governor’s Rebalancing Initiative. Everybody can live a full life in the community.
Instead, lawmakers are planning to drastically cut Respite Grants and the Medically Fragile and Technology Dependent Children’s Waiver program (MFTW), which allows children to receive specialized nursing care at home instead of being condemned to life in an ICU or institution. These children live on ventilators, have special healthcare needs and most have developmental disabilities.
As far as reducing Medicaid spending, Closing state institutions and maintaining the MFTW waiver program will save the state money. For every one person in an institution, four people can be funded to thrive in a community setting. Home care with the MFTW waiver is one-third the cost of hospitalization or institutionalization and the average enrollment period is just 5-years.
Illinois is going against the national movement to close state institutions and is the only state to make such drastic cuts to the MFTW program. We’ve been promised that the most vulnerable citizens would be protected under Medicaid reform- that seems to have been forgotten. Lawmakers need to stop trying fix the problems they created on the backs of people with disabilities.
The Arc of Illinois
Tony Paulauski Executive Director
The Arc of Illinois
20901 S. LaGrange Rd. Suite 209
Frankfort, IL 60423