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Seniors and Advocates Protest Elimination of Illinois Cares Rx

Date: 
05/30/2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   May 30, 2012

Contact: Lynda DeLaforgue, Co-director Citizen Action/IL: 312.427.2114 x202

Seniors and Advocates to Protest Elimination of Illinois Cares Rx 

Groups Call on Governor Quinn to Restore or Delay Cuts to Critical Program for 160,00 Illinoisans

Chicago - Citizen Action/Illinois, AARP Illinois, Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Access Living, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, AIDS Legal Council of Chicago are joining forces to call on Governor Quinn to issue an amendatory veto of SB2840 in order to allow for a safe and orderly transition for the enrollees in the Illinois Cares RX program. Seniors and advocates gathered outside of the Chicago Cultural Center—prior to an Illinois Department of Aging hearing—to demand protection for a program that serves a large and vulnerable population.

“Today we are calling on Governor Quinn to either restore or at the very least issue an amendatory veto of the SB 2840, in order to provide for a fair and safe transition of people out of the Illinois Cares RX program. Since the Affordable Care Act does not replace this critical support until 2020, many of the enrollees in the program will be faced with thousands of dollars of increases in out of pocket cost for their drugs,” said Lynda DeLaforgue, co-director of Citizen Action/Illinois.

Illinois Cares Rx is a critical lifeline for over 160,000 seniors and people with disabilities.  If left unchanged, SB2840 cuts off this program in just 32 days from today, on July 1st, 2012.  This sudden and extreme elimination of benefits for a very vulnerable population will most surely put peoples’ lives and health at risk.

“The General Assembly has turned its back on over 160,000 older Illinoisans by passing a Medicaid reform bill that completely eliminates funding for Illinois Cares Rx,” said Bob Gallo, AARP Illinois State Director. “Governor Quinn has the power to protect Illinois Cares Rx through an amendatory veto, and on behalf of our 1.7 million Illinois members we are urging him to do just that.”

If the Governor cannot add back the program he should the very least provide for an end date of the Illinois Cares RX program of January 1, 2013.  This will allow for service providers to work with this population to determine if there are other options for them to receive the assistance that Illinois Cares RX will no longer provide.

“We believe this request makes common sense and will have the potential to save lives as well as reduce risk of further health problems for people who have depended on this vital program.  We are saddened by this action that will impact the largest and most vulnerable group of Illinois residents and we implore the Governor to seriously take this request under his immediate consideration,” said Miller Rodgers, a leader of the Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans.