Recognizing her continued commitment to quality public healthcare, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle was named the Vice Chair of the Health Steering Committee today at the 2011 Annual Conference of the National Association of Counties (NACo).
The Health Steering Committee handles all matters pertaining to health care delivery and financing, with a particular emphasis on indigent care, Medicaid and health programs associated with substance abuse, developmental disabilities and mental health. President Preckwinkle will have the opportunity to lead efforts around strengthening care delivery, improving access and reducing the economic burden on tax payers.
“I’m grateful to my colleagues in County leadership positions throughout the country for giving me this opportunity to help tackle the serious issues relating to public healthcare facing our counties and our nation,” President Preckwinkle said. “Throughout the country, public health institutions play a major role in local government operations and we have to work together to find solutions to address the unprecedented budget and revenue challenges we are facing.”
President Preckwinkle will leverage her national leadership role to continue to fight against budgetary cuts that would impact local governments and create serious challenges for municipalities going forward. One of the biggest challenges the committee faces is Medicaid and the damage that drastic reductions will have on public health institutions in municipalities throughout the country. This leadership position will allow President Preckwinkle to continue her commitment to advocating for public health resources and provisions on a national level, especially given the serious budget and revenue challenges that all levels of government are currently facing.
“I remain extremely concerned – not only about the unprecedented level of Medicaid cuts contained in the house budget committee’s fiscal year 2012 budget resolution – but about the ongoing federal budget discussions and several recent proposals that taking major entitlement cuts into consideration,” President Preckwinkle said. “This is not about political posturing – this is about protecting our citizens. I will work with my colleagues at NACo throughout the country to advocate against these potentially devastating cuts.”
Last week, President Preckwinkle sponsored and passed a resolution opposing major reductions to Medicaid to send a clear message to lawmakers at every level of government that the federal budget cannot be slashed at cost of additional suffering for our most vulnerable citizens.
“I urge Congress and the White House, in their leadership roles, as they consider ways to address the deficit to spare the Medicaid program from major budgetary reductions to ensure healthcare for the most vulnerable in our society, while helping to maintain our public health and hospitals systems,” President Preckwinkle said.
The National Association of Counties (NACo) is a national organization that represents and provides essential services to the nation’s 3,068 counties. They are committed to working with governments to find and share innovative solutions through education, research and value-added services to save counties and taxpayers money. For more information about NACo, please visit: www.naco.org