Affordable Health Care: Containing Costs, Expanding Coverage.
The Need for Change
There are an estimated 1,513,000 Illinoisans without health insurance. A growing number of Illinoisans are under-insured. Consumers share of the cost of health care is growing while coverage in benefits packages is decreasing and record numbers of consumer complaints are lodged against insurance carriers regarding access to necessary health care services. I believe that it is the responsibility of the state to work to assure access to quality health care for every citizen of Illinois, and that the state must try to contain the costs of health care. Therefore I urge an active and productive debate between the citizens, insurance companies, health care providers and other interested parties. I am holding to a series of town hall meetings on health care where all the options will be discussed. Some of the key components in any plan must include:
* Affordable access to a full range of preventative, acute and long term health care services;
* Ongoing improvement of quality health care services offered to Illinois residents
* Portability of coverage regardless of employment status and uniform benefits for all Illinois residents;
* Cost containment mechanisms including: capitol and overall expenditures; avoiding unnecessary duplication of facilities and services and statewide health care budgeting;
* Comprehensive health planning. I also recognize this will take time. However, there must be immediate action;
Medicare to Families of the Developmentally Disabled
Illinois must expand Medicare services to the families of developmentally disabled children. Currently Medicare covers only the first 50 percent of the costs of care needed to raise a developmentally disabled child and excludes coverage for therapy services that brings health care providers into the homes of families to teach parents how to work with their child to develop the proper motor skills and enhance the emotional development of their child. I will also provide an additional 1,500 middle income and other non-Medicaid eligible families struggling with the escalating costs of raising a developmentally disabled child with the option of buying into this program at an affordable rate.
The Budget Cuts and Pork Barrel Spending
Specific to Illinois' 22nd District, it was irresponsible for the state to cut spending in programs that have such a huge impact on so many peoples lives in our community and throughout the state such as those at the Elgin Mental Health Center. These cuts also impacted such local agencies as the Ecker Center, the Renz Center, the Larkin Center and many others turning away those in need of care. Cutting these types of heath care programs to solve a state budget crisis is wrong and hurts people who need help most. They also have negative impact on our local economy in Elgin and surrounding communities by causing unemployment from meaningful and necessary work. I pledge to fight further cuts in such health care programs and will instead fight to reduce the waste in the budget and restructure our revenue stream to increase funds available for such needed care.