At the beginning of this month, I introduced you to Dean Cohen, 16, and Lee Cohen, 15. The two brothers are making it their mission to fight for the elderly generation. At the time I introduced them, they had taken their message to State Representative David Harris.
After feeling a sense of urgency for senior care after their meeting with Rep. Harris, the two high school seniors from Stevenson High School decided to take their message all the way to the Illinois State Capitol.
The two traveled to Springfield during Supportive Living Day. Their mission was to make sure that the elected officials in Springfield knew that the younger generation opposed the $2.7 billion reduction the State is seeking in Medicaid benefits.
Dean and Lee both said that they feel that any reduction in funding would greatly reduce the quality of care that Illinois seniors are currently getting; however, a huge deduction of almost $3 billion would be detrimental to the care of seniors.
The brothers are trying to make it known that current providers funded by Medicaid already have long and uncertain payment delays. Sometimes facilities funded by Medicaid are as much as 6-months behind on receiving their funding. This is hard on organizations trying to help seniors. Put less money in the pot, and it is uncertain how long payment delays could be extended. Some facilities would be unable to remain open if payment delays were extended.
Supportive Living Facilities, SLFs, already receive only 60% of the state nursing home rate and offer services that eliminate more debt for the State. SLFs help save money by eliminating or delaying costly hospital or nursing home stays. SLFs, which are Medicaid funded, would be greatly affected by this Medicaid reduction.
The Cohen brothers know this and that is why they spent April 18th in Springfield meeting with House and Senate Members. Though the boys said they feel the representatives were receiving the message, the highlight of their day was getting to talk about SLFs to Governor Pat Quinn.
Dean and Lee said they feel that Governor Pat Quinn heard what they had to say, and now they are just waiting to see if he listened. The brothers said they will anxiously be watching the votes taking place next month in Springfield on the Medicaid budget.
Though the brothers are hoping for a positive outcome from the votes, they say that regardless of the decisions, they will not give up their fight for senior care.