Governor Rauner’s “Reforms” to Community Care Program will Devastate Seniors and Home-Care Workers Across Illinois

On August 24, 2015, Fair Economy Illinois and Jane Addams Senior Caucus hosted the 8th Moral Monday in Illinois. More than three hundred people protested Governor Bruce Rauner’s immoral and unethical budget cuts. Twenty-two seniors, persons with disabilities, and concerned citizens risked arrest against Rauner’s proposed “reforms” to the Community Care Program.

Rauner responded to media inquiries by stating that he is passing reforms to free up resources for the most vulnerable in Illinois. His statement is an outright lie. First, the real reforms that Rauner seeks will not save taxpayers any money but will instead take money straight out of the pockets of working people. Rauner's turnaround agenda is designed to break unions and gut protections for workers injured on the job. Second, Rauner actually does want to cut programs that serve the most vulnerable people in our communities. 

Rauner has proposed a drastic change to the Determination of Need (DON) score that would mean 39,000 fewer seniors would qualify for the Community Care Program that helps them live independently in their own homes. These seniors would most likely be institutionalized in nursing homes.

Community Care currently provides in-home services to more than 86,000 seniors seniors each year. These critical services allow seniors to live in their homes independently and with dignity. Currently, the Community Care Program serves seniors over 60 years of age who qualify for the program based on a Determination of Need (DON) score.

Aside from the toll that institutionalization would take on quality of life and longevity of seniors, this change would wreak havoc on the budget and general economy of Illinois. Tens of thousands of home care workers employed in Illinois could lose their jobs or see their hours drastically cut, putting their financial stability at risk and harming the buying power of the middle-class. Additionally, these proposed changes to the DON score make no fiscal sense. It costs Illinois around $10,000 a year per client to provide a home care worker. However, placing one senior in a nursing home costs the state at least $35,000 yearly. Community Care saves Illinois roughly $24,000 per senior per year.

Governor Rauner must stop masking his disastrous cuts to vital programs and services as “reforms” to help the vulnerable. To truly serve the citizens of Illinois, he must put people over profits once and for all.

Rauner has proven again and again that he is merely concerned with protecting corporations and the very wealthy like himself. To incentivize his agenda, he has received millions in campaign contributions from wealthy donors like Glen Tullman, Ken Griffin, Sam Zell, and Elizabeth Christie. Rauner refuses to consider real revenue options that would ensure that everyone in Illinois pays their fair share.

Fair Economy Illinois has consistently called on legislators and the governor to raise fair and progressive revenue in order to address Illinois' structural deficit. Our solutions include a fair graduated income tax, closing corporate tax loopholes, and taxing financial transactions on the exchanges in Illinois in order to raise billions of dollars and end Illinois’ revenue crisis.


Lori Clark

Executive Director, Jane Addams Senior Caucus


Ann Marie Cunningham

Co-chair, Fair Economy Illinois