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Dementia care suffering as a result of budget impasse

Alzheimer’s Care Costs Illinois Taxpayers $1.5 Billion in 2015; Expected to Rise by over 43% in Ten Years

11/18/2015, 9:36 p.m.
With the governor and General Assembly still unable to reach agreement on a state budget, the Alzheimer’s Association is urgently ...

With the governor and General Assembly still unable to reach agreement on a state budget, the Alzheimer’s Association is urgently calling on elected officials to address the findings of a recent report showing that public expenditures related to treating people with Alzheimer’s disease will approach $1.5 billion in 2015 and are expected to increase by more than 40% during the next decade.

“These numbers show what the Alzheimer’s Association has been saying for years; Alzheimer’s disease is the next public health crisis,” said Erna Colborn, President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Illinois Chapter. “We strongly urge Governor Rauner and the General Assembly to adopt a budget that protects our state’s Medicaid program and shields in-home services from ideological differences.”

In February, Governor Bruce Rauner proposed a state budget that would have reduced eligibility for Medicaid services that many people with Alzheimer’s rely upon. The governor and legislative leaders have been locked in an impasse over the budget since June, when the governor vetoed a spending plan passed by the General Assembly that ignored his proposed cuts.

Many of the services in question are designed to keep Alzheimer’s patients out of taxpayer-funded nursing homes, ensuring those with the disease have access to medical care while lowering costs to the state. A recent statewide survey conducted by the Alzheimer’s Association found that the vast majority of Illinoisans affected by Alzheimer’s disease believe that the state is failing to satisfy its obligation to provide compassionate, high quality health services.

“People and families living with Alzheimer’s need our help, especially those with limited resources,” said Colborn. “The state’s Medicaid program is their last resort for care, if we won’t care for them – who will?”