Illinois Doesn’t Care Rx

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryLast week, my father received a letter from the State of Illinois. The letter flatly said that due to severe budget cuts, the Illinois Cares Rx program will be eliminated. The Illinois Cares Rx program will come to an end on the last day of June. It said that those who can qualify should switch over to the federal Medicare program for discounted prescription drugs. The Illinois Cares Rx program was for those low-income seniors and people with disabilities who need help. The program helps to discount prescription drugs that well over 180,000 Illinois residents need in order to live and be pain-free. Now this program has been eliminated and now all those who cannot switch to Medicare will have to pay full price for medicines that can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month.

To put it mildly, this is a bad deal. Those who eliminated this program say that it will save $1.6 billion dollars. But tell me this, what will it cost the poor and needy seniors and disabled who needed this program for life-saving medications and prescription drugs to keep them from suffering pain? Will this elimination really save the state money? The answer is hell no. Those people who cannot afford those medications for chronic conditions will have to go to assisted living homes and other places. This will cost the state more money and will cost the taxpayer money. The money will have to come from somewhere, and it will most likely come from all of us. What about people who need medications for pain and controlling dangerous conditions such as gout, bronchitis or arthritis? If the pain gets too serious they will have to go to the hospital and the emergency room. This will in effect add to the costs to the state budget because the program that could have given these people the means to control their problems has been eliminated.

But all of this has to beg the question whether those who voted for this have a conscience? I could well ask why none of them are willing to take a pay cut. Their annual pay is higher than most peoples in this state. On top of that they get free health care, free or reduced cost transportation, and when was the last time a politician in Springfield had to worry about whether they had to either buy food or have enough money to buy prescription drugs? That is what so many people who depended on Illinois Cares Rx will now have to make a choice on. On a personal level, as a concerned son who has an aged parent, I am distressed that my father will now have real trouble affording prescription medications he needs for his gout, for his heart condition, for his high blood pressure, for his cholesterol, and for an infection he had in his right leg. I worry that the lack of any of these medications might send him to the emergency room of the hospital, or worse. To those legislators in Springfield who tried to keep this program, I sincerely thank you for your efforts and wish you guys had prevailed. To those who voted to eliminate Illinois Cares Rx, I hope you all rot in eternal hell.

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