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The Chicago Forum for Justice in Health Policy: Austerity’s Impact on Health and Reform

On May 11, 2015 at Loyola University's Kasbeer Hall, Health & Medicine held a meeting of the Chicago Forum for Justice in Health Policy focused on Austerity's Impact on Health and Reform.

With a large structural deficit, Illinois’ new Governor, Bruce Rauner, has proposed significant budget cuts to many State health and social service programs, including a $1.5 billion cut to Medicaid, as well as extensive cuts to mental health and public health.  Recent and planned health reforms—and the health of Illinoisans who depend on a variety of state-funded health programs—are seriously threatened by the proposed budget cuts.

The Forum addressed some of the following key questions: How can advocates and providers prioritize reform agendas under an austerity budget that would cut healthcare, mental health, and services for people with disabilities?  What would be the likely long-term impacts of shortsighted proposed budget cuts on both people’s health and the state budget?  What would a sound, sustainable budget that supports a strong social safety net look like? 

The forum provided an opportunity to better understand the state’s fiscal problems, discuss likely impacts of proposed cuts, and hear from those who are attempting to protect Illinois’ safety net from austerity and further cuts.

This event featured the following panelists:
  • Ralph Martire, Executive Director, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability - view the presentation
  • Robyn Gabel, State Representative, 18th District
  • Ramon Gardenhire, Vice President of Policy & Advocacy, AIDS Foundation of Chicago 
  • Cara Smith, JD, Executive Director, Cook County Jail
  • Margie Schaps, Executive Director, Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (Moderator)

About The Chicago Forum for Justice in Health Policy:
Each policy forum in The Chicago Forum for Justice in Health Policy series focuses on health reform efforts both in Illinois and in the Chicago area, including discussions of best practices from around the country. Previous events in the series include:

Health & Medicine wishes to thank the Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust for its support of this forum. We would also like the thank the Health Justice Project, at the Beazley Institute for Health Law and Policy, located at Loyola University Chicago School of Law for co-sponsoring this event.