Health advocates and service providers vowed to ramp up pressure against Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner Friday, specifically taking aim at his proposal to slash the Medicaid program next fiscal year by $1.5 billion, during a "Medicaid and Budget Advocacy Summit."
About 200 people attended the summit, held at the Chicago office of SEIU* Healthcare Illinois Indiana. The union co-hosted the event with the AIDS Foundation Chicago, Campaign for Better Healthcare, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Citizen Action Illinois, Heartland Alliance, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, among other groups.
Organizers said the summit, which included a panel discussion on the governor's budget plan and breakout sessions about advocacy strategies, marks the start of a "long campaign" by the various groups seeking to put a human face on Rauner's proposed Medicaid cuts and influence lawmakers to opt against balancing the budget on the backs of vulnerable residents and working families.
A task force appointed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has suggested bumping the city's minimum wage gradually to $13 an hour by 2018. Progress Illinois provides highlights from Tuesday's press conference about the commission's plan.
Meanwhile, no Republican Congressmen from Illinois earned a grade higher than a 'D' on the center's 2013 Poverty Scorecard, which looked at the voting record of every U.S. senator and representative on poverty-related issues during the last calendar year. The scores were tabulated based on 18 votes taken in the House and Senate on legislation covering a variety of subject areas including budget and tax, food and nutrition, health care, immigrants, cash assistance, domestic violence, education and the workforce, to name a few.
Illinois had the fourth-lowest rate of uninsured kids in 2012, making the state a national leader when it comes to getting children enrolled in health care coverage.
The number of Illinois children with health insurance increased by nearly 40,000 between 2010 and 2012, reducing the state's uninsured rate for those under the age of 18 to 3.3 percent. Overall, the children's uninsured rate in Illinois dropped by 1.2 percentage points between 2010 and 2012, according to the report, which analyzed data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS).
“Illinois residents and its leaders should be proud of the progress we’ve made improving children’s coverage,” Andrea Kovach with the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law said in a statement. “And we should be excited about more of their parents getting coverage for the first time as a result of new coverage choices under the Affordable Care Act. When every member of the family has coverage, kids are more likely to get regular preventive care to keep them healthy and see a health care provider sooner when they are sick.”