Elimination Of Illinois Cares Rx A Bad Move For Illinois Legislators

May 25, 2012, 12:15 ET from AARP Illinois

Statement from AARP Illinois Advocacy and Outreach Manager, Nancy Nelson

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., May 25, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "Today, the General Assembly turned its back on over 150,000 Illinois seniors by passing a Medicaid reform bill (SB2840) that completely eliminates funding for Illinois Cares Rx – a critical prescription drug program that thousands of Illinois seniors rely on to access the medications they need.  AARP is extremely disappointed that the General Assembly chose to eliminate Illinois Cares Rx and we are asking Governor Quinn to apply an amendatory veto to the Medicaid bill and reinstate funding for the program.

"Everyone knows that the state of Illinois is in a financial crisis and tough decisions must be made with regards to the budget.  However, those tough decisions need to be smart decisions.  Instead of simply hacking away at critical health care programs like Illinois Cares Rx, legislators need to be thinking about the long term implications of funding cuts.  Seniors who can't afford their medications won't take them – and the state will end up paying more for their health care down the road.  Illinois needs reasonable and balanced solutions to the issue of Medicaid funding – but being penny-wise and pound-foolish is not the answer.

"Governor Quinn has the power to protect the Illinois Cares Rx program through an amendatory veto of SB2840 – and AARP is asking him to do just that.  We are calling on Governor Quinn to reinstate the Illinois Cares Rx program and give over 150,000 Illinois seniors the prescription drug assistance they critically need.

"AARP will certainly be reaching out to our 1.7 million Illinois members to let them know about the elimination of the Illinois Cares Rx program – and to let them know that Governor Quinn has the authority to reinstate the program.  To those legislators who voted in favor of the Medicaid reform bill, you will be hearing from your constituents, many of whom are likely Illinois Cares Rx clients.  When constituents call your district offices telling you that they can't afford to fill their prescriptions, what will you tell them?  Eliminating Illinois Cares Rx is bad news for seniors in our state, and a bad move for Illinois legislators."