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Nursing Home Advocates Relieved Over Gov. Quinn's Budget Address

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  Nursing home advocates say they're relieved by Gov. Pat Quinn's budget address last week. The governor says state has already been cut enough.

Two years ago, Gov. Quinn announced drastic cuts to Medicaid, the state's healthcare program for the poor, disabled and elderly. Medicaid helps pay for nursing homes, so when the legislature followed through on these cuts, many facilities shut down or laid off workers.

Pat Comstock, with the Healthcare Council of Illinois, says these cuts persisted through last year. But this year, she says things are looking brighter.

"The governor said he was not going to balance the budget on the backs of seniors," she said. "We were thrilled to hear that. We were also thrilled to hear that he's focusing on revenue rather than cuts in vital programs."

Comstock is referring to Gov. Quinn's call to make 2011's temporary tax hike permanent.

It remains to be seen whether enough lawmakers are willing to follow Quinn's lead on taxes.

Hannah covers state government and politics for NPR Illinois and Illinois Public Radio. She's been dedicated to the statehouse beat since interning at NPR Illinois in 2014, with subsequent stops at outlets including WILL-AM/FM, Law360, The Daily Line and a temporary stint at political blog Capitol Fax before returning to the station in 2020.
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