Mark Newton, Swedish Covenant Hospital CEO and Association of Safety-Net Community Hospital President, penned the letter below in support of preventing drastic cuts to Medicaid and safety-net hospitals. This letter appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, Joliet Herald-News, Champaign News-Gazette and Rockford Register Star.
To The Editor:
Across Illinois, safety-net hospitals serve some of our most at-risk communities. They are a lifeline for small towns, the uninsured, and are providers of essential care in underserved neighborhoods. To use these life-saving hospitals and the care we provide sick children and the elderly as leverage in a political fight is unconscionable. Balancing the budget and trying to fix our state’s finances at the expense of health care for our most vulnerable citizens will not make Illinois more compassionate or competitive.
Governor Rauner has proposed a $750 million cut to hospitals across the state, which will disproportionally affect safety-net hospitals. The severity of these cuts would force a reduction of services to many of our neediest residents, and likely close some facilities altogether. For the past several years safety-net hospitals have worked in partnership with the state to transform health care services for the better. The governor’s proposed cuts would derail this progress and put the health care of millions of Illinoisans at risk.
We did not elect our state lawmakers to slash services for working families, children and senior citizens. We urge legislators to reject the governor’s proposals, and stand up for the families and communities they represent.
Association of Safety-Net Community Hospitals
President and CEO
Swedish Covenant Hospital