The public cost of Alzheimer's care in Illinois is projected to hit $1.5 billion this year and could grow by more than 40 percent over the next decade, shows a new report from the Alzheimer's Association.
In light of those new numbers, which show that "Alzheimer's disease is the next public health crisis," the Greater Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association is urging the state legislature against cuts to programs that help people living with the disease. Cutting such programs, like Medicaid, would cost Illinois taxpayers even more in the long-run, the group argues.
"We strongly urge Governor Rauner and the General Assembly to adopt a budget that protects our state's Medicaid program and shields in-home services from ideological differences," said Erna Colborn, President and CEO of the Alzheimer's Association, Greater Illinois Chapter.
Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic state legislators remain at odds over a 2016 budget, which was supposed to be adopted back in July. As part of the budgeting process, Rauner has proposed deep cuts to Medicaid as well as in-home services.
"Many of the services in question are designed to keep Alzheimer's patients out of taxpayer-funded nursing homes, ensuring those with the disease have access to medical care while lowering costs to the state," the association said in a statement.
Illinois leaders with the Alzheimer's Association are warning against such cuts.
A recent survey conducted by the group shows that Illinoisans affected by Alzheimer's disease already "believe that the state is failing to satisfy its obligation to provide compassionate, high quality health services."
"People and families living with Alzheimer's need our help, especially those with limited resources," Colborn said. "The state's Medicaid program is their last resort for care, if we won't care for them - who will?"