Illinois Must Pay $13 Million for Home Health Workers’ Insurance

Illinois must pay more than $13 million to cover the cost of health insurance for home health care workers, a judge ordered Wednesday.

The move comes after SEIU Healthcare Illinois, a labor union representing home health care workers in the state, filed a temporary restraining order against Gov. Bruce Rauner and Comptroller Leslie Munger to force the payments earlier this month.

SEIU said almost 5,000 low-wage personal assistants would lose all of their health insurance after Dec. 31 if the state did not honor its contractual obligations to continue health contributions for home health care workers.

Rauner’s office responded, saying there was no spending authority to make the payments due to a months-long budget stalemate.

On Wednesday, St. Clair County Judge Robert LeChien ruled that Illinois cannot breach its contract with home health care workers because lawmakers cannot decide on a budget.

LeChien ordered the state to pay within 10 days, denouncing what he described as a “fiddle while burning posture” of the governor and the Legislature, The Associated Press reported.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson