Arrested Advocates: In-Home Health Services Essential For Independence

May 27, 2014

Mike Ervin, of Chicago, was arrested and forcibly removed from the Capitol Monday evening when he and other advocates wanted to stage an all-night sit in. Ervin says without an extension of the state's 5 percent income tax, in-home health care could be decimated.
Credit Hannah Meisel/WUIS

  As the Illinois General Assembly considers a so-called "middle of the road" budget for next year, some programs could be cut or reduced to make up for the expiration of the 20-11 income-tax hike. Advocates for people with disabilities say a reduction could be catastrophic for that population.

One of the biggest parts of Illinois' budget is Medicaid, which not only provides health care to the poor, but also to those with disabilities. Those who can live independently usually elect to with the help of in-home health service.

Mike Ervin relies on a motorized wheelchair to get around, and says he holds down a job in Chicago. But he says he wouldn't be able to do that without in-home health care.

He says now that Democratic leadership has given up on extending Illinois' five percent income tax rate, he fears at-home care could be first on the chopping block.

"What do you do then, send us to nursing homes?" he said. "And make us miserable and spend three times as much money? We would rather go to jail than die in nursing homes."

Ervin was one of several advocates arrested and forcibly removed from the Capitol Monday evening when they tried to stage an all-night sit-in inside the statehouse rotunda.