* The trouble with cutting programs like Medicaid is that those cuts can cause other, even costlier problems. For instance…
The governor has called for the closure of Tinley Park Mental Health Center, which currently is budgeted to hold 75 residents. It currently employs 195 workers and has an annual budget of $19.8 million.
He also wants to close Singer Mental Health Center in Rockford, putting 145 people out of work and shuttering bed space for 76 residents. It costs about $14 million to operate the facility.
His budget also calls for cutting community mental health programs by $58.4 million.
Quinn’s Medicaid overhaul, designed to save a total of $2.7 billion, would place a moratorium on admissions to intermediate care facilities. The proposal, which would affect people with mental illnesses, would impact about 14,900 admissions in order to save $114 million.
The Medicaid cuts also would place a moratorium on admissions to a mental disease program impacting about 1,800 people. It would save about $36 million.
All that amounts to nearly a quarter of a billion dollars being diverted away from mental health programs and infrastructure. Lawmakers are trying to wrap up their action on the budget by May 31.
Christopher Larrison, a professor of social work at the University of Illinois, said the proposed reductions will likely result in more people seeking treatment in emergency rooms and more mentally ill people being arrested and jailed. Neither place, he said, is an appropriate setting — medically or financially — for someone needing treatment for a mental illness.
Like I told subscribers this morning, anybody who tells you that fixing things is easy has probably never fixed anything.
* Questions face Quinn on cigarette tax hike
* Nursing home residents rally against Medicaid cuts
* Illinois Lawmakers On Taxes: Reality Is Catching Up
* Tom Loewy: ‘Entitlement mentality’ runs counter to the facts: But residents of Knox County shouldn’t tolerate a politician who walks into our midst and spouts off about an “entitlement mentality” when our friends and neighbors are struggling to find affordable medical care for their children. We should never tolerate a politician who tries to pit “us” against “them” when we are all citizens of the same state, faced with the same crushing economic uncertainties as those who live in other ZIP codes. Sorry, but that kind of attitude never made our country great.