Ill. Government signs broad access to health care and equity proposal


Illinois Governor JB Pritzker on Tuesday signed a law to make healthcare more accessible and equitable, especially for people of color.

The broad law includes provisions reducing sales taxes to 1% on blood sugar testing kits and prioritizing state funding for communities in Illinois with high rates of violence. It is the last of the four pillars of racial justice created by the black legislative caucus that the Democratic governor promulgated.

Republicans were quick to criticize Pritzker for approving programs they said would cost billions of dollars while the state remained deeply in debt.

The measure, which lawmakers approved in an overnight January session, establishes training and certification for newly created community health workers who are more accessible than traditional health professionals, adds training on prejudices against medical training and targets areas of high violence for more state funding for health care and to eliminate the causes of violence.

“For centuries, black people have been disrespected, abused and misused in the name of health care, starting with the abuse of slaves,” said Senator Mattie Hunter, a Democrat from Chicago. “To avoid harming one of our most vulnerable populations in the future, we have adopted this enlightened policy with the aim of deep and intense reform.”

Law expands paid sick leave for the care of additional family members, requires proposed hospital closures to be studied for their impact on racial equity, and creates a national anti-racism commission to eradicate prejudice systemic racial issues.

It promotes training on emotional learning, trauma and adverse childhood experiences for child care workers and prohibits the imposition of criminal charges on anyone seeking medical assistance for a drug overdose. He creates additional commissions to study improving health care and human services for residents of the state and to develop a program to help business leaders who are women, people of color or people of color. People with Disabilities.

Eleni Demertzis, spokesperson for Republican House Leader Jim Durkin, accused Pritzker of “inaccurate rhetoric” about the affordability of the law.

“The governor has signed a bill that will cost billions of dollars in fantastic money that we just don’t have,” Demertzis said.

She said the Republicans’ call during the legislative debate for a tax bill – in which the costs of a program are defined – was rejected by majority Democrats.

Last summer, members of the black legislative caucus took advantage of the lull caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, called public hearings and crafted their four-pillar agenda, which also includes an overhaul of criminal justice practices, a crackdown on predatory lending and unfair housing practices; and increased educational opportunities.

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