The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) and Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus (CBGMC) praised the Illinois General Assembly's Black Caucus for opposing Medicaid- and HIV-funding cuts, according to a press release.
Gov. Pat Quinn has proposed a cut of $2.7 billion from the state's Medicaid system and an additional 50-percent cut to community-based HIV prevention, housing, corrections, minority health-promotion and harm-reduction programs.
"The state's fiscal crisis must be resolved without devastating cuts to Medicaid, which help hundreds of thousands of families in Illinois every day, including many African-Americans with disabilities, seniors and children," said Ramon Gardenhire, AFC's director of government relations.
"It's time that the Illinois General Assembly follow the lead of the Black Caucus in finding a balanced approach to fit Illinois' budget issues, but do it in way that grows the economy, creates jobs and protects Medicaid."
"Experts in infectious disease tell us that regular HIV testing, linkage and retention to care and adherence to medications among HIV-positive people are all elements needed to stop the epidemic," said CBGMC Chair Keith Green. "When we consider other social determinants of health that exacerbate the epidemic, such as unemployment, stigma, poverty, and poor access to care, it is vital that funding levels are sustained for these essential services, which will inevitably lower community viral loads and reduce the likelihood of transmitting the virus to others."
In a separate release, Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) lauded the General Assembly "for tackling the daunting task of Medicaid budget reform," acknowledging the Save Medicaid Access and Resource Together (SMART) Act (Senate Bill 2840). "Failure to act and do nothing to salvage Illinois' Medicaid program would have crippled our State's healthcare system," said HBHC Public Policy Director Clint W. Sabin.