Cuts could take another stab at the elderly

Proposed budget cuts by Governor Pat Quinn are taking another stab at health care in the state of Illinois.

Funding reductions would mean an average cut of $8 a day per person on Medicaid.

That $8 could leave thousands of people without jobs and some even without a home.

"Health care is not the place to cut. These people have worked all their lives, they've paid their taxes, they don't deserve this. It would be devastating to them and to long term care," said Sycamore Healthcare Centre Administrator Viola Huskey.

Huskey currently has 110 residents living at her nursing home. Those on Medicaid receive a monthly salary from the government -- of 30 dollars.

"All of the services that are now free to my Medicaid residents, I would have to think about charging for. I don't even want to begin to think about how terrible that would be to these people," Huskey says.

Resident John Caristo included. He's lived at Sycamore Health Care Centre for almost two years.

Caristo says, "I think there's a misconception that we're the employees and they're the employers but that's not the case. We're paying their wages. Therefore, we're the employers. So, why are they receiving better paying benefits than we are?"

That's one of many questions still unanswered.

"Where do these residents go? Who does he cut then? I don't know," said Huskey

"Well, I would be lucky because I'm a vet and they've informed me that I could go to the vet home. I would hate to do that because, see here in this room, I have a memorial to my wife. In the vet's home, there are no rooms like this, so I don't think I could have that," Caristo said.

His solution to the problem...?

Caristo says, "Stop this pension. Let them pay social security like we are and live on that pension. Maybe social security and all the other benefits won't be in danger any more."

Huskey believes we need to start by calling local legislatures.

If the cuts took place, they would start July 1.

Caristo says he did the math... That would equal out to just under four hundred thousand dollars a year from Sycamore's budget.