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An advocacy update from a peer educator

May 12, 2014

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On April 9, three clients and I, an Open Door Clinic staff member, joined the Illinois Alliance for Sound AIDS Policy (IL ASAP) and over 100 other advocates as we converged on Springfield to advocate for issues that impact to the HIV/AIDS community. Our biggest push was for the continued funding of HIV/AIDS services. When Illinois Governor Pat Quinn proposed his budget for next year, he maintained state funding for HIV /AIDS services. That’s good news. The bad news is the Governor’s proposed budget is contingent on the continuation of the 2011 flat tax increase. If that doesn’t happen, Illinois will face severe, across-the-board cuts for the whole state, including a 16% or $4 million cut to HIV/AIDS programs.

You can support the effort by calling your legislators and urging them to protect funding for services for people living with HIV/AIDS by continuing the flat tax.

In other advocacy news, Sen. Linda Holmes from Aurora (and representing the district of the Open Door Clinic) has signed on to be a chief sponsor of the Cap the Co-Pay bill. This bill would change Illinois insurance law to cap co-pays on specialty prescription drugs (the most expensive drugs and often prescribed from chronic conditions) to $100 per prescription per month or $200 total per client per month. As we move forward with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, people with long-term, chronic diseases are facing co-pays of hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars for life-saving drugs. These hefty co-pays effectively make the Affordable Care Act unaffordable. Sen. Holmes has always been an outstanding supporter of people living with HIV/AIDS. We can support her by asking other legislators to support her in her efforts and sponsor the bill. Contact your legislator here.

These are big issues that require broad, statewide support. You can increase your impact by getting family and friends involved. You may have friends or family in different areas across Illinois — educate them on the issue and ask them to phone their legislators for their support. For more information on the issues, for help developing a phone campaign or to learn how to talk with your legislators, please contact me at bryang@opendoorclinic.org.

Only together can we make a better Illinois for all.

Bryan Gooding
Open Door Clinic
Illinois Alliance for Sound AIDS Policy

Categorized under Inside Story.

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