Among those opposing Governor Scott Walker’s $70 billion budget are advocates and participants in Family Care and IRIS. The third of four public hearings on the state budget takes place Monday in Rice Lake.
IRIS provides daily support to the elderly and people with disabilities, but the long term care program is eliminated in the state budget. Julie Burish of Brookfield is a member of the grassroots coalition: Save IRIS. She spoke at the hearing in Milwaukee on Friday. “Every person who uses IRIS did not choose to be frail or disabled and they simply wanted to live a self-determined, self-directed life like the rest of us,” she said. “Save IRIS because IRIS works.”
Burish explained IRIS is a valuable, cost-effective program giving people greater control over their lives in their own homes.
Marion Holmberg of Waukesha represents those using the program and, she said, all of us. “Because at any moment any one of us could become part of the disability community. And certainly all of us will at one point or another join the group of senior citizens who may need to use this program.”
Participants rely on IRIS to select and hire personal care workers to help with bathing, dressing, and accessing meals. Advocates spoke to the Joint Finance Committee during a public hearing last week.
Approximately 52,500 people statewide rely on Family Care and IRIS (Include, Respect, I Self-Direct), according to advocates. Walker’s budget proposal would eliminate IRIS and radically change both Family Care and ADRCs (Aging & Disability Resource Centers).