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Illinois Alliance for Retired Americans rally in Springfield to save prescription drug program for seniors and disabled


From The Register-Mail,

May 16, 2012

Outraged seniors dump ‘survival kits’ at Quinn’s door

Protesters denounce cuts to programs

GALESBURG — A dozen seniors dumped “senior survival kits” in front of Gov. Pat Quinn’s office during a news conference at the State Capitol on Wednesday to show their outrage at proposed cuts to Medicaid and other social services that provide healthcare to seniors and people with disabilities.

The survival kits contained a diaper, gloves, wipes, a pill bottle and other items seniors depend on to live healthy and independent lives in their homes. The governor’s budget proposes nearly $2.7 billion in cuts to healthcare programs, including eliminating Illinois Cares Rx.

Among those in attendance was Joyce Stodgel of Williamsfield.

“The governor’s proposal to slash Medicaid and eliminate Illinois Cares Rx from seniors will disrupt their already tight budgets and make them candidates for emergency rooms and nursing homes,” Stodgel said.

The senior survival kits represent “just a few of the essential daily needs of seniors that are currently under attack as the governor and Assembly consider massive cuts to Medicaid, Illinois Cares Rx, the Community Care Program and the Home Services Program,” said Barbara Franklin, a senior from Champaign.

“The General Assembly has already made deep cuts to public services for seniors and people with disabilities. Enough is enough. We’re here today to tell Governor Quinn and the members of the General Assembly: ‘Save our Seniors.’ ”

The dozen seniors were cheered on by nearly 200 other seniors and people with disabilities who rallied at the Hall of Flags in the Howlett Building prior to the news conference. Seniors also called for a fair tax that requires the wealthy to pay their fair share and a $1 increase in the cigarette tax to prevent devastating cuts.

At the rally seniors were addressed by John K. Holton, director of the Illinois Department on Aging, Barbara Franklin, president of the Illinois Alliance of Retired Americans, William McNary, co-director of Citizen Action/Illinois and April Verrett, executive vice president of SEIU Healthcare Illinois.

They marched out of the Hall of Flags to deliver survival kits to legislative leaders and every Illinois representative and senator.

“Seniors should never have to choose between paying for their groceries, rent or their prescription medication. We are asking the governor to take care of Illinois’ seniors and support full funding for Illinois Cares Rx,” Susie Harris of Rockford said.