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Biss pushes for a path to universal long-term care for elderly and disabled (VIDEO)

biss 022818Citing studies that clearly show a drastic increase in the elderly population projected over the next decade, Senator Daniel Biss joined state Rep. Chris Welch to announce a measure that would put Illinois on the path to a system of universal long-term care for the state’s elderly and disabled populations.

“Here’s the question we need to be asking: In a world where the population is aging, what is our responsibility to one another?” Biss said, speaking at the Capitol today. “Should we hope that families will, on their own, be able to care for their aging loved ones? Or should we instead come together as a community and decide, jointly, that everybody has a human right to age with dignity near their family, in their community. That’s the moral thing to do.”

SB 2976 would enshrine a right to crucial long-term care for the elderly and the disabled and begins the process of studying how much such a system would cost and what revenue sources would be necessary to fund it. Biss and Welch spoke alongside elder care and disability services advocates, who argued that the existing patchwork of programs, services, and Medicaid/Medicare leave behind too many seniors and persons with disabilities. That in turn leaves their families with few options but to miss work or even quit their jobs in order to provide care to a family member in need.

Biss called out Gov. Bruce Rauner’s attempts to cut or eliminate elder care programs over his tenure as governor, including the Community Care program, which provides home care to the elderly.

“We need to conduct the studies to be sure of the precise costs and identify the correct, progressive revenue sources to enable full funding of a universal system of long term care, and Senate Bill 2976 initiates that process,” he said.

Biss stressed that elder care and care for those with disabilities should be considered as part of the same challenge and urged the Senate to act on the legislation.

Senator Daniel Biss

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9th Senate District

Years served: 2011 - 2012 (House); 2013 - Present (Senate)

Associated Representatives: Laura Fine; Robyn Gabel

Committee assignments: Education; Environment and Conservation; Executive Appointments; Human Services; Labor (Chairperson); Revenue.

Biography: Full-time legislator; former University of Chicago math professor; doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and undergraduate degree from Harvard University. Served one term in the House before his election to the Senate. Resides in Evanston with his wife, Karin, and their children, Elliot and Theodore. Co-chair of a bipartisan pensions working group in the House and chair of the Digital Divide Elimination Advisory Committee.