The AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC) congratulates Illinois Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner on his victory last night. We and the community of HIV advocates stand ready to assist the governor-elect’s transition team as they plan for the new administration.
HIV and public health are not partisan issues. Every HIV infection averted through strong prevention programs saves the state over $380,000 in lifetime medical costs. Moreover, iron-clad scientific evidence shows that when people with HIV have access to comprehensive medical treatment, their individual health improves and their risk of transmitting HIV to partners is dramatically reduced. In fact, HIV treatment is one of the most powerful forms of prevention — and social supports like housing, case management, and food support help people with HIV stabilize their lives so they can focus on their health.
Last night, the people of Illinois spoke when they continued to elect state legislators who have worked to meet the needs of people living with and vulnerable to HIV. Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) and Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) still lead veto-proof Democratic majorities in Springfield that will require bipartisan solutions to the state’s problems. We look forward to working with our allies in the Illinois General Assembly to continue the state’s strong public health and HIV programs.
Throughout Illinois, many individuals and organizations have played a vital role in the state’s Medicaid program. AFC calls on Governor-Elect Rauner to approach the Medicaid program without partisan biases and work with these key stakeholders to develop a full understanding of this program and the essential health care services it provides to individuals and families throughout the state, including many thousands living with HIV.
AFC also urges the Rauner administration to continue the state’s efforts to obtain an 1115 Medicaid waiver. The waiver proposal includes an HIV health home, which would improve access to health care for people with HIV. We also ask Governor-Elect Rauner to continue the state’s nearly four-year effort to implement care coordination programs, including managed care. Illinois is too far down the road in implementing these programs to change strategies.
In addition, we call on Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois General Assembly to act immediately during the fall veto session to end the state’s fiscal cliff. Without legislative action, current income tax rates will drop Jan. 1, putting an immediate $2 billion hole in the state’s $36 billion budget. The impact next fiscal year will be even greater.
Finally, we thank Governor Quinn and the leaders of his administration for their tremendous work. Thanks to Governor Quinn, the Affordable Care Act has fully been implemented in Illinois, HIV prevention and care programs are stronger and the Medicaid program is on a path to better care. We are grateful to Governor Quinn and agency heads — including Illinois Department of Public Health Director LaMar Hasbrouck, Healthcare and Family Services Director Julie Hamos, Human Services Secretary Michelle Saddler, and others — for their leadership and wish them well.