The following comes from Dev Gowda, an advocate with Illinois PIRG.
Plan fails to adequately address growing public health threat
Tomorrow the National Task Force for Combating Resistant Bacteria will release a five-year action plan to tackle the growing problem of antibiotic resistance. While the plan will take several important steps necessary to control the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, it will miss the opportunity to call for critical reforms in the agricultural sector that are essential to protect public health.
President Obama gets an 'A' for tackling this problem from multiple angles. But in terms of addressing the biggest problem, the troubling overuse and misuse of antibiotics on large factory farms, the administration gets an incomplete.
This lack of action to address the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture is notable in the face of recent commitments by several major retailers to curtail the purchase of meat raised with the routine use of the drugs. Earlier this month, for instance, McDonald's announced it will phase out chicken raised with medically important antibiotics in its U.S. restaurants. This policy will likely do more to confront the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture than the policies recommended in today's plan.
State Rep. Arthur Turner (D-Chicago) called Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed budget a "doomsday situation" that is compounded by a $1.6 billion shortfall from former Gov. Pat Quinn's underfunded FY2015 budget.
In February, Rauner proposed sweeping cuts to the state's Medicaid program, higher education, mass transit and government pensions to address the state's financial woes. The cuts aimed to combat a $6 billion deficit for fiscal year 2016, which begins in July 1, and the state's $111 billion pension crisis. But critics of Rauner's budget plan say those cuts adversely affect the poor and middle class families.
"It's gonna be tough," said Turner, who held a town hall meeting Monday night to discuss the impact Rauner's proposed cuts could have on the state. More than 30 residents attended the meeting held at Mt. Sinai Community Institute, 2653 W. Ogden Ave.
If the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs in a case involving the Affordable Care Act and its tax subsidies, over 270,000 Illinoisans could be impacted, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Health advocates and service providers vowed to ramp up pressure against Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner Friday, specifically taking aim at his proposal to slash the Medicaid program next fiscal year by $1.5 billion, during a "Medicaid and Budget Advocacy Summit."
About 200 people attended the summit, held at the Chicago office of SEIU* Healthcare Illinois Indiana. The union co-hosted the event with the AIDS Foundation Chicago, Campaign for Better Healthcare, Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, Citizen Action Illinois, Heartland Alliance, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, among other groups.
Organizers said the summit, which included a panel discussion on the governor's budget plan and breakout sessions about advocacy strategies, marks the start of a "long campaign" by the various groups seeking to put a human face on Rauner's proposed Medicaid cuts and influence lawmakers to opt against balancing the budget on the backs of vulnerable residents and working families.
The ongoing activist campaign for a Level 1 adult trauma center on Chicago's South Side continued Thursday night, when approximately 70 demonstrators blocked traffic on Michigan Avenue near the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.