The next target of the budget impasse could be public health

By Ryne Turke on November 4, 2015 at 12:48pm

The health of Illinois residents appears to be the next target of the state budget impasse.

Multiple news outlets are reporting that restaurant cleanliness, public water and sewer systems, disease control and public health emergency readiness are all at risk as the budget stalemate extends to month number five.

The President of the Illinois Health Administrators says the budget impasse is hitting local health departments hard.

“By the end of October, 36 percent of the 97 local health departments have eliminated critical programs, cut staff and reduced hours of service.”

Katy Drae, from the American Lung Association, says some countries don’t have public assistance to address public health issues.

“Do you know what we call those places? We call them third world countries and under developed nations.”

State health officials fear that even a potential $17 million grant for Illinois health departments may not be enough.

A joint hearing between the Senate’s Public Health and Appropriations committees heard the concerns of Illinois health departments yesterday in Chicago.