(KMOV) -- Advocates for state nursing homes are on a 17-city tour of Illinois trying to keep proposed budget cuts from becoming reality.
The Health Care Council of Illinois parked its RV in front of Belleville Nursing and Rehab (Lincoln Home) Monday morning. They coaxed residents and workers there to chant, "Stop the cuts."
The cuts they refer to are 6% of state Medicaid funding to nursing homes. The Health Care Council says that amounts to about $70-million. If that happens nursing homes would also lose about $70-million in matching funds from the federal government.
They say the cuts would compromise safety and cost thousands of jobs.
Looking for as many allies as possible, they found one in Democratic State Representative Tom Holbrook, who represents Belleville and Granite City.
Holbrook told the crowd Illinois is going to have to make major cuts in many areas, but this one is one he refuses to touch.
"With the additional security measures we've passed for nursing homes and with the rising cost of care it's inconceivable how they can operate if we don't at least maintain their funding," Holbrook told me at the rally. "This is the one area of the state where I tell the folks 'we can not afford to make a cut in'."
Lawmakers are expected to vote on the state budget in the next couple of weeks.
Mark Schnyder is a reporter at KMOV-TV. He can be reached at MSchnyder@kmov.com