Bruce Rauner: Republican for Cancer

Republican Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner proposed funding cuts to, among other things, the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP) in his state budget, as well as cuts to programs designed to encourage Illinoisans to end their addiction to tobacco products.

These cuts are strongly opposed by the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN), which issued this statement in opposition to the proposed cuts:

IBCCP helps thousands of women get their doctor-recommended mammograms every year, connecting uninsured and underinsured Illinois women with potentially life-saving screenings. From 2007 to 2012, the state program detected 727 invasive breast cancers and 1,490 cervical cancers and precancerous lesions.

Maintaining funding and eligibility for IBCCP will preserve a critical safety net for thousands of women in our state who will not qualify for Medicaid this year. It’s our hope the General Assembly will restore cuts to this program for the sake of all Illinois women.

Illinois’ tobacco prevention and cessation programs have made great strides in reducing youth and adult smoking rates. However, the state currently spends only nine percent of the Centers for Disease Control’s recommended funding level, jeopardizing lives that could be saved by reducing tobacco use.

Tobacco not only leaves a serious mark on our state’s physical health. It also places a heavy burden on its economic health. This year, smoking will cost Illinois more than $8.3 billion, further straining its already difficult financial situation. Maintaining funding for tobacco prevention and cessation would be a wise use of state dollars. It would help prevent needless tobacco-related deaths and reduce the excessive costs of tobacco use.

We understand Illinois continues to face tough financial choices, but fighting cancer should always be a top policy priority. We look forward to reviewing Governor Rauner’s complete budget proposal and working with lawmakers to restore funding to these critical programs.

Make no mistake about it, Bruce Rauner’s barbaric budget would result in more Illinoisans being diagnosed with cancer due to a lack of state funding for programs that make it easier for Illinois women to receive breast and cervical cancer screenings, as well as encourage Illinoisans to end their addiction to cancer-causing tobacco products. Bruce Rauner is not compassionate, and he apparently doesn’t realize how devastating cancer can be to those who are affected by it.

I hope that the Illinois General Assembly restores funding to breast and cervical cancer screening programs and tobacco cessation programs, and, if necessary, overrides any kind of Rauner veto to these programs.

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