With state budgets busting at the seams, we’ve been watching some very painful cuts to state Medicaid budgets across the board. Today, we thought we’d share a story about how those Medicaid cuts are affecting long-term, Medicaid patients in Illinois.
From the time he was paralyzed in a high school football game in 2000, Rasul “Rocky” Clark has received his medical care at Ingalls Health System in Harvey.
In fact, Clark credits the physicians, nurses and aides there for keeping him healthy for the past 11 years, longer than quadriplegics in his condition are predicted to live.
But now, Clark will have to leave the hospital he has depended on since he was hurt, he said.
Clark, 27, is one of hundreds, if not thousands, of chronically ill individuals forced to find new doctors because of changes in the state Medicaid program.
“Basically I don’t have a choice if I’ll live or die,” he said from his hospital bed at Ingalls on Tuesday. “It’s wrong for the state to do anyone like this, especially a disabled person. It’s very insulting to my condition.”
Illinois is rolling out a new program of HMO-style care for people with serious disabilities. Because many doctors and hospitals are refusing to join the new Medicaid program, some patients with cerebral palsy, autism, schizophrenia and other conditions will be forced to find new doctors.
How is your state cutting its Medicaid budget? Tell us about it
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