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Young residents take issue with Medicaid cuts

Rep. Harris with Lee and Dean Cohen

Rep. Harris with Lee and Dean Cohen

It is not often that we see very young people on the forefront of assisting the elderly. Fortunately that is changing as the younger generations are seeing how hard it is for the elderly to make it in today's economy.

Lee Cohen, 15, and Dean Cohen, 16, both students at Stevenson High School, recently met with State Representative David Harris concerning this issue.

Having spent the last several months talking to groups about the State of Illinois being more than 5 months behind on Medicaid payments to Supportive Living Facilities (SLFs), when Lee and Dean found out that the State Legislature is looking to cut the Medicaid rate for SLFs, they wanted to actually go and meet face-to-face with one of the people making the decision.

SLFs are an alternative to nursing homes, and since they only receive 60% of what it costs to living in a nursing home, they end up saving the State millions of dollars every year. Unfortunately, if SLFs keep getting payment cuts, many will have to close. This will cost the State much more money as the residents of SLFs will have to move into nursing homes.

Knowing that the taxes their parents pay, and eventually the money they pay in taxes, will fund this, they see no reason to force cost-saving SLFs to close when it will ultimately cost tax-payers more money.

Lee and Dean both said that Representative Harris was very welcoming to their message. He listened as Lee and Dean explained that another method needed to be found to balance the Illinois budget other than taking money from seniors living in SLFs.

Harris assured the boys that not only is aware of the situation, he will take their message back to his colleagues. Harris told the boys he will also make sure that the Human Services Appropriation Committee will know the facts of the situation.

Lee and Dean are anxiously awaiting the outcome of this important legislation that will affect Illinois residents for years to come. Both vow to not give up their fight until the seniors of Illinois are taken care of.

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