Durbin Criticizes Proposed Cuts to Health and Social Services

[CHICAGO] – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today criticized proposed budget cuts at the federal and state levels that would have a devastating impact on health care for low-income families across Illinois. Earlier this month, Congress passed a federal budget framework that slashes health care for working families. These cuts are compounded by the State of Illinois’ proposed budget, which would leave many of Illinois’ most vulnerable citizens without vital health programs.

“The proposed state and federal budget cuts to health and social services would be a devastating combination for low income families and individuals across Illinois. Balancing the budget on the backs of the poorest among us is shameful,” Durbin said. “Safety net hospitals, cancer screening and treatment programs, and resources for the disabled are programs that not only save lives, they save money. These cuts will lead to increased emergency room visits and far more expensive care for these vulnerable families. We need to make smarter, more thoughtful choices that are based on the reality of life for working families.”

U.S. Senate and House Republicans have proposed cuts to Medicaid of over $400 billion. This would eliminate health insurance for about 11 million Americans. The FY16 Senate Republican budget would strip health insurance from 27 million Americans by 2025 by repealing the Affordable Care Act, and cut funding for community health centers by 70 percent that provide care to 23 million patients, including 7 million children.

Meanwhile, the State of Illinois has proposed $1.5 billion cut to Medicaid spending – the largest Medicaid cut made by any state. More than 54 million people in the U.S. benefit from Medicaid, including about 3.5 million in Illinois. Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, about 500,000 additional people in Illinois have signed up for Medicaid, and more than half of Illinois births were covered by Medicaid.

The proposed Illinois budget would also have a devastating effect on women’s health. The Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program would be cut from $14 million to $4 million, a 71% reduction. The proposed $750 million in Medicaid reimbursement reductions to hospitals and health systems would reduce screenings, including mammograms, to low-income, uninsured or underinsured women throughout the state. The budget would also eliminate the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program, which provides care through women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer to receive medical care through Medicaid. The program also does outreach to enroll women who are eligible for Medicaid or marketplace coverage.