The Ohio Senate's refusal to take action on the state's budget is a dangerous course for Ohio's seniors. By not incorporating the revenue raised in Gov. Strickland's proposal for video lottery terminals, the Ohio Senate is asking that Ohioans bear the brunt of further cuts to vital services in a time of increasing need to the tune of $1 billion.
For Ohio seniors, in addition to the cuts already forecasted, that translates to an additional 10.5 percent cut in Senior Community Services and drastic cuts to PASSPORT, the program that provides older Ohioans crucial community-based long-term care services. In other words, the additional cuts mean that more than 11,000 seniors will not be served over the next two years through at-home care services that save Ohio tax dollars.
Instead, taxpayers will spend an additional estimated $142 million in increased nursing home expenses. Furthermore, because of cuts to the Assisted Living program, 1,600 people would not be served over the next two years, costing Ohio taxpayers another estimated $19 million in increased nursing home costs.
Another important aid for seniors in the state budget is the Senior Community Services line item. These funds go to support vital services such as home-delivered meals, transportation to medical appointments, adult day services and other home care services as well as help to draw down additional federal dollars. Already slated for a 30 percent cut, if these funds are cut an additional 10 percent, Ohio jeopardizes $14 million in federal money and leaves over 62,000 older Ohioans without services. Ohio cannot afford to desert our elderly and leave nursing facility placement as their only supported option.