State Sen. Dale Righter (Mattoon) was recently featured in the Journal Gazette & Times-Courier advocating for a new program that helps seniors, while saving taxpayer dollars. Read more below!
The State of Illinois has been providing services to seniors through the Department on Aging for nearly 40 years. During this time, our state has helped many seniors live more independently and stay out of nursing homes, but the truth is, we can do better in targeting that assistance to those truly in need.
In Illinois, the taxpayers spend 3.7 times more than the national average on our non-Medicaid seniors, but we still have one of the largest numbers of low-need individuals in nursing facilities. The money we’re spending is not targeting the most important needs. This is a problem and must change now.
Over the next 13 years, the senior citizen population is anticipated to more than double. That projected growth would require a 52 percent increase in funding to respond to this. Failure to make necessary changes in how we spend taxpayer dollars jeopardizes services for future participants in programs such as the Community Care Program (CCP).
This is just another example that emphasizes the dire need to reform state government. Without reforms, Illinois can’t succeed in the long term. Reforming programs by targeting the most in need first, while at the same time efficiently using taxpayer dollars, must be a priority.
To address this looming issue, Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Department on Aging introduced a new program that reforms the status quo and puts us on a much better path, both in terms of service and efficiency. The Community Reinvestment Program (CRP) will maintain quality services for current seniors and increase its ability to serve the most in need.
Through CRP, seniors not eligible for Medicaid who are receiving services under the CCP will be transitioned to CRP. This allows them to have access to more services to meet their needs. This program will help divert seniors from costly nursing homes and ensure they continue to have all of the services they require to meet their needs.
CRP is projected to save the state $120 million. How is that possible? Because each senior making the transition will be surveyed to determine their specific needs, and the services offered will be tailored to those needs.
This is an opportunity for us to help our seniors, ensure services are available to them for decades to come, and save taxpayer dollars.
The status quo has already broken the state’s piggy bank. Letting the status quo continue will only shatter it into pieces. We owe it to our seniors and taxpayers to reform state government.
- State Senator Dale Righter