* Because of all the hoo-rah over the AFSCME bill yesterday, an important news item was all but completely missed.
Six House Republicans (Batinick, Bryant, Jesiel, Hammond, McAuliffe, Unes) broke ranks with Gov. Bruce Rauner and their party leadership to help pass HB2482, which blocks the governor’s attempt to change the determination of need scores for a whole host of programs, including the Community Care Program, the Home Services Program, the supportive living facilities program, and the nursing home prescreening project. Also in the legislation…
Provides that the State shall not implement an updated assessment tool that causes more than 1% of then-current recipients to lose eligibility; and that anyone determined to be ineligible for services due to the updated assessment tool shall continue to be eligible for services for at least one year following that determination and must be reassessed no earlier than 11 months after that determination… Amends the Nursing Home Care Act. Provides that no individual receiving care in an institutional setting shall be involuntarily discharged as the result of the updated assessment tool until a transition plan has been developed by the Department on Aging or its designee and all care identified in the transition plan is available to the resident immediately upon discharge.
* Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) issued this press release yesterday…
“We cannot in good conscience change the eligibility standards for our citizens who rely on daily essential services. Keeping the eligibility score at 29 will allow Illinoisans to stay in their homes and receive minimal care instead of forcing people into costly nursing home facilities.
This bill protects 24,000 adults in the Community Care Program and 10,000 persons with disabilities in the Home Services Program by allowing them to keep their care. I applaud its passage and I look forward to its ultimate signing into law.”
Through the safeguards created by this prospective law, service recipients are protected should the eligibility tool change or a new tool be implemented to determine need, which will allow for a gradual transition and less disruption of services.
The legislation has passed both Houses and now moves to the governor’s desk.
* From SEIU…
“This vote provides necessary protections to seniors and people with disabilities who were being forced by the Rauner administration into long-term care or nursing homes and placed in positions that threatened their health and welfare. Kicking 34,000 low-income seniors and people with disabilities to the curb was downright cruel. And it was shameless for the Rauner administration to do so administratively when they knew they could not possibly achieve this end through proper legislative channels.
“It’s a shame that this vote was needed in the first place and hopefully serves as a lesson that, in bipartisan fashion, the people of Illinois are not prepared to sacrifice the welfare of our most vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities to a cheap and unprincipled political agenda.”
The governor’s office declined comment this morning.