LETTERS: Trump turns his back on vulnerable people in nursing homes

SHARE LETTERS: Trump turns his back on vulnerable people in nursing homes

President Donald Trump arrives to board Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport on Monday to return to Washington. | Evan Vucci/Associated Press

The holiday season is traditionally a time of giving, a time to put ourselves aside and think of others, particularly those in need.

But President Trump wasn’t thinking about nursing home residents when he rolled back regulations protecting them from abuse and neglect. Instead, as usual, he gave a gift to special interest groups at the expense of everyday Americans.

As a senator, I have been on the forefront of nursing home reform in Illinois. I am appalled by the president’s callous attitude towards residents who deserve safe, quality care.

This is, however, part of a trend in the Trump administration. Since taking office, the president has attacked our country’s most vulnerable communities. He has stripped protections from immigrants, the LGBTQ community, minorities, children, Medicaid recipients and, now, the elderly.

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Last month, Trump announced he was relaxing the Obama-era requirements for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to issue fines against nursing homes that harm their residents or put them at risk of injury. Trump’s guidelines even discourage regulators from issuing fines when a violation results in a resident’s death.

The New York Times reported that since 2013, when President Obama put the previous regulations in place, four out of every 10 nursing homes have been cited at least once for a serious violation. So it’s no surprise that industry leaders asked Trump for a rollback — they were finally being held accountable.

Sadly, Illinois is no stranger to nursing home abuse. Just over a year ago, Lincoln Manor in Decatur was fined almost $300,000 after a resident died from septic shock after a wound went untreated. The Times reports that the home would have been fined less than $20,000 under the new regulations.

Despite the president’s campaign promises to “drain the swamp,” it is abundantly clear that he is only concerned with helping wealthy, special interest groups. It is up to states to protect their citizens, and I hope our governor will direct the Illinois Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to continue to closely monitor the situation in nursing homes and issue appropriate fines when violations are found.

State Sen. Jacqueline Collins, Chicago

Nunes runs sham investigation

By some accounts, the way U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes is running the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is haphazard and chaotic and seems designed to produce an outcome favorable to the president and the GOP. Some GOP members of the House have called for an investigation of the special counsel and his team, one (Francis Rooney, R-Fla.) even suggesting a “purge” of FBI agents suspected of Democratic leanings.

Fox News is ever more shrill in its attacks on the Justice Department in general and the FBI in particular, suggesting that a “cleansing” was necessary and that individuals needed to be “taken out in cuffs.” They have even gone so far as spouting the absurd and dangerous suggestion that a “coup”— their word — might be carried out against the administration. Gee, almost sounds like a conspiracy to obstruct justice. The GOP majority in Congress is fond of investigating anything remotely negative to do with Hillary Clinton, but less fond of investigating anything to do with questionable activities by Donald Trump or his presidential campaign. Maybe the special counsel should expand his investigation into how that committee is being run and into the coordinated attempts by the House GOP and Fox News to disrupt the FBI and impede his team’s work.

Michael Hart, West Ridge

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