Political headlines over the past few months have seemingly been dominated by one main issue: the political debate around the U.S. debt. Followers of the situations are likely aware that federal lawmakers had disagreed on whether the current debt ceiling should be lifted and, if so, whether that should be coupled with revenue enhancements or spending reductions. Late last month the lawmakers appeared to finally reach a deal on the situation. The decision has huge implications for all those who care about reducing Illinois nursing home neglect and ensuring the proper treatment of our elderly friends and family members across the country. It is for that reason that our Chicago nursing home neglect lawyers closely follow all federal and state developments related to budget matters.
As the Consumer Voice explained following the agreement, the deal may constitute the best that could be hoped for considered the misguided demands of some lawmakers. However, that deal still means that many seniors and those with disabilities will be placed at risk because of the provisions of this agreement. The main problem stems from a small minority of lawmakers who risked defaulting on national obligations unless they received massive budget cuts without any new revenues.
That bizarre approach to lawmaking means that many seniors with face severe program cuts that many have ramifications in many areas, ultimately increasing the prevalence of Illinois elder neglect. Medicaid, the joint federal and state healthcare program that pays for many nursing home stays for low income individuals, will likely face steep cuts. As a result, care workers may lose their jobs, home workers will be cut, and other services used to keep seniors healthy and safe will be eliminated. It is not hard to see how fewer care workers at nursing homes in our area will lead to an increase in Illinois nursing home neglect. The connection with sufficient staffing and proper care is well documented.
However, as discouraging as the “deal” may seem, there is still work to be done to help ensure that vulnerable seniors receive the care they deserve. As part of the deficit agreement a “Super Committee” will be created which will seek to make specific cuts in various programs up to $1.2 trillion. Those cuts would be in addition to the $1 trillion in cuts already built into the agreement. This “Super Committee” will have the authority to make cuts in whatever area it deems necessary, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
Medicaid in particular is seen as being a likely victim of the steep cuts to be made by the committee. Nearly 2/3 of all nursing home residents across the country depend on Medicaid to receive long-term care. Many other programs in which the sick, elderly, and disabled depend are also at risk of being cut.
Our Chicago nursing home lawyers encourage all residents to take the time to contact their federal representatives and urge them not to make damaging cuts to the Medicaid system that so many seniors depend on. There is still time to advocate on behalf of what is right. Every call, email, or letter makes is a bit more likely that legislative members will do what needs to be done to prevent the elderly from suffering from poor care.
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