Kicking Seniors Off Cares Rx Not the Way to Fix Medicaid Crisis

Apr 19, 2012, 18:12 ET from AARP Illinois


AARP Urges Governor, Legislature To Preserve Critical Program

Statement from AARP Illinois Senior State Director Bob Gallo

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., April 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- "The Governor's announced plan to stabilize and reform Medicaid is terrible news for the thousands of older Illinoisans that depend on Illinois Cares Rx, the state's prescription drug assistance program.

Illinois Cares Rx is a critical program that helps low-income seniors afford the prescription drugs they need. Along with the Community Care Program and other home and community based services, these assistance programs help older Illinoisans stay in their own homes and save taxpayer dollars by preventing unnecessary and more costly institutional care.

While there is no question that the State of Illinois is in a fiscal crisis and that the Governor and lawmakers will need to make tough decisions, denying seniors' access to the prescription medications that they need to survive is not the way to fix the state's Medicaid crisis.

On behalf of our 1.7 million Illinois members, AARP urges Governor Quinn and the members of the legislative committee to preserve Illinois Cares Rx and to ensure that individuals continue to have access to the cost-efficient programs and services they need to age with dignity in their homes and communities.

Cutting critical programs spells disaster, not just to the seniors who rely on the programs, but also to Illinois taxpayers who will end up bearing the brunt of increased Medicaid costs.  With seniors unable to access the prescription medications they need, more will end up in hospitals and institutional care facilities, increasing costs for the entire state.  Being penny-wise and pound-foolish is simply not the answer to our state's fiscal challenges."