Press Release

Sente Opposes Cuts Stripping 40,000 Elderly Residents of Health Care


“Cuts to senior programs are often the most egregious, and this dangerous proposal is no different,” said Sente. “The elderly worked hard all their lives and now live on a fixed income, yet skyrocketing health care and living costs are eating up what little savings they have left. Asking them to shoulder the budget cuts by reducing their access to health care programs is maddening.”

Gov. Rauner’s Department on Aging recently released a proposal to unilaterally remove 40,000 seniors from the state’s Community Care Program and place them in a new and untested program called the Community Reinvestment Program (CRP). Senior advocates including AARP and the Illinois Association of Community Care Program Homecare Providers have expressed concern that CRP lacks the standards critical to ensure excellent senior health outcomes and financial security.

The administration’s draft rules for CRP also remove regulations requiring caregivers to undergo criminal background checks. Under the Community Care Program, companies carefully screen caretakers to confirm they do not have a history of scams or fraud, and that all employees in contact with seniors do not have criminal or sexual convictions.

“The Department on Aging’s proposed Community Reinvestment Program is a cost cutting, political tactic at the expense of over 40,000 of Illinois most vulnerable senior citizens, and their loved ones,” said Ryan Gruenenfelder, AARP Illinois Director of Advocacy. “The proposed program hinges on service availability by geographic regions, on the continuation of budget appropriations, and the sole authority of the Department to amend eligibility standards with zero legislative oversight. The proposed program is a catalyst for seniors to face premature nursing home placement. Our state can implement common sense, compassionate and cost-effective reforms to maintain our state’s current Community Care Program without jeopardizing the lives and well-being of thousands of Illinois’ greatest generation.”

Rauner’s Department on Aging is using an administrative rulemaking process to advance their plan without receiving input or approval from the Legislature. Sente is urging residents to call the Department on Aging at 800-252-8966 and speak out against the proposed cuts.