Health Care Groups and Lawmakers Speak Out Against Governor's Proposed Cuts

 Springfield - According to the American Cancer Society, nearly 10,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

Additionally, an additional nearly 600 women will be diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Statewide, women rely on the help of the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program.  That's a program that provides free mammograms and PAP tests to women between the ages of 35 and 64.

However, like many things in Illinois, this program likely could see massive cuts in the governor's proposed budget.

"When Governor Rauner revealed his proposed budget several months ago, he included a 71% cut to the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program.  This cut would result in a 50% reduction of the number of women being served in the program.  Women who do not have healthcare coverage for life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings and who rely on IBCCP free mammograms and PAP tests and pelvic exams.  The hits didn't stop there, the governor's proposed budget also eliminated guaranteed access to affordable chemotherapy, radiation, and other cancer treatment for women currently diagnosed through IBCCP," said American Cancer Society's government relations director Heather Eagleton.

Eagleton, along with several members of the state's General Assembly spoke out against the governor's proposed cuts.

For one lawmaker, Port Byron state representative Mike Smiddy, these cuts hit close to home.  That's because his wife is a breast cancer survivor.

Smiddy said that,"if she would not have been diagnosed early, her treatments would have cost more money to the insurance companies.  We need these types of services to insure that women in Illinois have proper screenings and it's not only saving lives, but it is also reducing the cost of the treatments.'

Budget talks regarding this, and other issues, continue next week at the Capitol.

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