As details emerge from Gov. Bruce Rauner’s FY 2019 Budget, one thing is clear: His pattern of diminishing services and ending protections for seniors and people with disabilities who rely on home healthcare-and their caregivers-remains constant.
Here’s a quick list of 5 Failures of the Rauner Budget (in no particular order) when it comes to home healthcare in Illinois.
1. Denying Home Services Program Caregivers Their .48-cent raise
Last year’s bipartisan budget agreement, passed over Gov. Rauner’s veto, included a .48-cent raise for caregivers in the Home Services Program which allows people with disabilities to remain in their homes. The denial of the raise is the subject of an ongoing class-action lawsuit. The Rauner budget does not account for the raise as workers in the program, most of whom make $13 per hour, struggle in poverty and are forced to search for other work.
2. Taking Away Health Insurance for Caregivers
Home Services Program workers bargained for modest health insurance coverage a few years back. This health coverage allows many of them to seek affordable medical attention and remain in the workforce. Gov. Rauner is seeking to strip this away.
3. Cutting Workers’ Wages By Rolling Back .72-Cent Rate Increases for Caregivers In the Community Care Program for Seniors
High turnover in the home care workforce exists because of low wages and physically and emotionally challenging work, is resulting in a critical shortage of quality caregivers that’s harming consumers. The General Assembly approved a .72-cent per hour wage increase for the Community Care Program workforce, yet the Rauner budget strips this away, cutting workers’ wages.
4. Denying Quality Protections for Seniors Being Shifted Into Managed Care
As more and more seniors who rely on the Community Care Program are shifted into managed care, as touted in Gov. Rauner’s budget, they remain WITHOUT assurances that the level and quality of their care will remain.
5. Denial, Denial and Denial About Adequate Funding for Social Services
Gov. Rauner continues to avoid the elephant in the room, the lack of a fair mechanism to fund services that ensures that those at the very top pay their fair share so that the badly-torn social safety net remains intact for those who need it most.
Jane Addams Senior Caucus
Caring Across Generations
Statewide Independent Living Council
Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans
SEIU Healthcare Illinois
Illinois Network of Centers for Independent
Alliance for Community Services
Progress Center for Independent Living