SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The Illinois Legislative Black Caucus (ILBC) is celebrating the signing of the Illinois Health Care and Human Service Reform Act, a historic measure to address the systemic racial inequalities within the state’s health care system, into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic devastated communities across America, it caused particular harm to families and neighborhoods that have faced decades of disinvestment and lack of opportunity due to systemic racism. To address systemic racism in Illinois, the Black Caucus identified four priority policy areas, including criminal justice, economic access, education, and health care. Today, measures addressing all four areas are now law,” ILBC Joint Caucus Chairperson state Rep. Sonya Harper, D-Chicago, said. “These initiatives will address the inequities in access to comprehensive health care for our communities. I offer my thanks to Rep. Lilly and Sen. Hunter for taking the lead to pass these much needed health care reform measures, which will improve the quality of life for all residents statewide.”
“The systems that bind and neglect people of color must be addressed, and grasped at the root, creating equity through investment,” state Sen. Mattie Hunter, D-Chicago, said. “The measures in this package reshape our state’s health care, leading with diversity, inclusion, and justice at the center.”
“This law helps protect hospital access for low-income communities devastated by the pandemic, helps build trust between patients and their doctors by requiring training for implicit bias, and puts the people in need of care first,” state Rep. Camille Y. Lilly, D-Chicago, said. “This law touches on a wide spectrum of issues that have proved problematic for too long. Black and Brown men, women, and children and low-income residents have held the burden of the health inequalities for generations, but today we took a step forward toward ensuring the quality health care that everyone deserves.”
“The Black community has experienced so much premature death at the hands of systemic racism,” state Sen. Patricia Van Pelt, D-Chicago, said. “While this legislation won’t solve everything with the sign of a pen, I am confident that the measures in this bill will right the wrongs in our state healthcare system, giving Illinoisans of color increased opportunity to attain emotional and physical wellness.”
“People in the Black community have lost faith in Illinois’ health care system because of unequal access to care. Quality health is a necessity and should be available to everyone, regardless of race or income,” Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, D-Maywood, said. “The Black community’s health and our care has been devalued for far too long. With this law, we are taking the first steps to reshape the direction of our state’s health care, leading with diversity, inclusion, and justice at the center.”
“These reforms are critical to ensuring fair and equal access to health care for all Illinoisans, but particularly those who have been left behind by our health care system in the past because of their race or their income,” state Rep. Kam Buckner, D-Chicago, Chairperson of the Illinois House Black Caucus, said. “I am extremely proud of the Black Caucus for doing the work necessary to create a better Illinois for all residents.”
House Bill 158 was signed into law today by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The signing of the law marks the enactment of all four pillars of the ILBC’s agenda to address systemic racism, developed in the summer and fall of 2020 through a series of hearings and working groups to combat bias and discrimination in criminal justice, economic opportunity, education, and health care.
HB 158 addresses the following aspects of health care and human services: