Local hospital groups say over 500 area jobs on the line
ROCKFORD – State Rep. Litesa Wallace, D-Rockford, and State Sen. Steve Stadelman, D-Rockford, joined Rockford families standing in opposition to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposal to reduce and eliminate life-saving treatment for breast and cervical cancer patients, home energy assistance, in-home care for the elderly and other services for middle-class families Wednesday.
“We can’t afford a budget that is balanced on the backs of people who are already struggling to make ends meet,” Wallace said. “These men and women work hard to provide for their families. They didn’t create the mess in Springfield. It’s not fair and it’s not responsible to make them pay for it.”
“Many of the programs being targeted actually save the state money in the long run,” said Stadelman. “Whether you’re talking about helping at-risk teens or services that help keep seniors and the disabled in their homes, it’s costlier for the state when people instead end up in nursing homes, institutions or prison.”
Rauner’s proposed budget slashes $9.8 million in funding for the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP), a reduction that the Illinois Department of Public Health estimates will eliminate screenings for 14,000 women.
“Because of Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, I am a breast cancer survivor,” said Janice Edwards of Rockford. “There are thousands of women out there like me. So Governor Rauner, when you decide how to best serve the citizens of Illinois, don’t think of me. Think of your daughters. Think of your mother. Think of your wife. Think of the women you know who have loved you, encouraged you and supported you throughout your life. And think about what it would be like to lose them. Because if you cut funding to the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, more people across our state will lose the beloved women in their lives. More families will be torn apart by the irreversible effects of cancer.”
Nurses and health care workers joined Wallace and Stadelman to oppose Rauner’s proposed cut to nursing home funding and elimination of nearly $29 million from OSF Saint Anthony Hospital, Rockford Memorial Hospital, SwedishAmerican Hospital and Van Matre Health South Rehabilitation Hospital, which the Illinois Hospital Association estimates will take over $68 million out of the Rockford economy and eliminate nearly 500 local jobs.
Rauner has also called for the suspension of funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which helps over 4,600 Winnebago County residents keep the heat on every winter, and has proposed severe reductions to programs that serve families of children with autism, and provide in-home care for the elderly.
Local families stood with Wallace and Stadelman at Milestone Elmwood Heights to urge a more balanced approach that responsibly addresses the state’s budget challenges while protecting critical services for middle-class families, the elderly and those in great need
“These families need a state government that listens to their needs and works for them, and that starts with a responsible budget that provides for the services they need most,” Wallace said.
“The decisions that the governor and legislators will make in the coming days, weeks and months will have a direct impact on the parents, patients, caregivers, young people and seniors of our community, and I am determined to make sure their voices are heard.”