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Tue May 6, 2014
Nursing Home Advocates Call For Income Tax Extension
Advocates for nursing homes say if Illinois does not keep income tax rates where they are, thousands of seniors could lose access to care. But it's not yet clear whether the General Assembly will make the tax hike permanent.
Lawmakers have a little less than a month to pass a budget for the next fiscal year -- a budget that nursing homes rely on to subsidize their operations.
Advocates say if the state's income tax is allowed to roll back as scheduled at the end of the year, nursing homes are projected to take a 14 percent funding cut.
Pat Comstock, with the Healthcare Council of Illinois, says nursing homes can only cut so much.
"We'd be rather caught in the middle between the state budget and what our residents require because we would be mandated to provide those services regardless of reimbursement," she said
Comstock says the state is still behind on Medicaid payments, and fears it could get even worse without a tax extension.
Republicans say instead of keeping the tax hike, savings could be found within Medicaid. But the state already made significant cuts to the program less than two years ago.