Land Of Stinkin’…

"Four score and seven years... wait, they've done what?" (Photo courtesy fine folks at Wiki Media Commons.)

“Four score and seven years… wait, they’ve done what?” Illinois’ politicians are having trouble listening to the better angels of their  natures. (Photo courtesy fine folks at Wiki Media Commons.)

Bill Myers

Good morning, ProviderNation. Poor Illinois. So close to Wisconsin, so far from God… The Land of Lincoln, already ranked dead last for fiscal health, seems to have overlooked that whole “we need a budget” thing. Governor Bruce Rauner, a newly elected Republican, is squaring off against the Democratic-controlled General Assembly, and the state has been without an operating budget since July 1.

Already, stories are trickling in, ranging from the silly to the sinister, but you’ll have to forgive Illinois providers if they don’t see the humor in it.

“The impasse in Illinois is going into its 14th week, which means the only services getting paid are those decreed by court consent decrees,” says Dave Voepel, executive director of the Illinois Health Care Association (and a man who easily has one of the most thankless jobs since the Maytag repairman hung up his cap). “There are almost 80 consent decrees in place over the years, and 10 of those are driving the expense dollars. The comptroller claims by the end of the year the state will have $8.5 billion in unpaid bills, and nursing centers will be part of that mix.”

Bad To Worse

It’s a problem so fierce that, even if a budget is ever passed, raising taxes won’t help, Voepel says.

“You can’t recover a year’s worth of revenue in that shortened time,” he says.

There is some silver lining: Voepel, at least, is a Cubs fan (nobody’s perfect).

UN: ‘Alarming Lack’ Of Elder Care

Meanwhile, the fine folks at the UN have taken a look at the globe’s aging population. Their findings are, um, not good.

Nearly 90 percent of African elders lack for care; 65 percent of Asian elders need help and can’t find any, the UN’s International Labor Organization finds. Asia alone is short by 8.2 million frontline caregivers, the report finds.

“If you compare rehabilitation services, which are needed both by younger and older persons, we find that older persons get much less,” study author Xenia Scheil-Adlung tells Voice of America.

Bill Myers is Provider’s senior editor. Email him at Follow him on Twitter, @ProviderMyers.

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