Health and Fitness

Nurses Condemn Illinois Governor’s Rauner’s Austerity Budget Attack on Health Care

UCMC RN’s fighting for patient care standards

ILLINOIS–(ENEWSPF)–February 19, 2015.  National Nurses United, the largest nurses organization in the nation and in Illinois, yesterday condemned Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposal for draconian cuts in critical public services that nurses said could have a devastating effect, especially on retirees and low and moderate income residents in need of medical care.

“This shameful austerity budget plan would punish the most vulnerable people in our state at a time when so many continue to suffer the effects of a prolonged economic crisis and the transfer of wealth from working people to the 1 percent,” said Martese Chism, a Chicago registered nurse and board member for National Nurses Organizing Committee-Illinois, an NNU affiliate.

“As nurses at the bedside, we see every day how our patients, our neighbors, and our communities are suffering. Cuts in Medicaid, as the governor is proposing, for example, will leave countless residents of Illinois without access to the essential care they need. That is not reform, it is a death sentence,” said Chism.

NNU said it will vigorously oppose proposed widespread demands for cuts that affect all working people, such as in public transit and assistance for injured workers eligible for workers’ compensation as well as reductions in worker’s pensions and retiree health coverage.    

NNU sees budget proposals as consistent with Rauner’s efforts last week to weaken unions: organizations that protect public health by allowing public servants and workers to speak up in defense of safety and collectively oppose budget cuts that threaten communities.

“What we know from the somber example of austerity measures in other states, and other countries, is that austerity budgets like this are a catastrophe for working people, and the overall economy,” said Chism.

Instead of driving down the living standard of regular Illinois residents, said Chism, Gov. Rauner should require wealthy interests, such as LaSalle Street and Wall Street speculators to contribute more for the health and well being of everyone. NNU has called on Rauner to support legislative efforts to enact a LaSalle Street Tax on Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Chicago Board Options Exchange trades.   

Additionally, studies indicate that a Robin Hood Tax on all financial transactions on Wall Street; a tax of less than a nickel for every $100 dollars in a financial transaction, could raise as much nationally as $350 billion annually, enough to relieve student debt, increase spending on health care, HIV prevention and treatment, as well as, jobs and infrastructure.


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