We have a chance to help with Health Care Justice Act

Opinion

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Senator Barack Obama recently reminded us that the weak governmental response to Hurricane Katrina wasn't the only reason the disaster was worse than it had to be.

"I hope we realize," Sen. Obama said, "that the people of New Orleans weren't just abandoned during the hurricane. They were abandoned long ago?#34;to murder and mayhem in their streets; to substandard schools; to dilapidated housing; to inadequate health care; to a pervasive sense of hopelessness."

Well, here in Illinois, the Health Care Justice Act is giving us an opportunity to address one of these issues, and thus work to prevent the abandonment of many of our own neighbors. In the midst of a tremendous national outpouring of support for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, let us remember that disaster in the form of catastrophic illness or medical bankruptcy lurks perilously close for 3.5 million uninsured Illinoisans.

Although no one deserves to be abandoned when it comes to health care, we would do well to remember that three-quarters of the uninsured in Illinois are working people. Merely being employed is no longer sufficient to guarantee adequate health care.

Under the Health Care Justice Act, the public will have an opportunity to let its voice be heard on improving health care in our state. And that time is fast approaching.

For residents of the 7th Congressional District (Rep. Danny Davis), which includes Oak Park, our chance to be heard will be Wednesday, Oct. 19. The location will be announced shortly, although it will be held in Oak Park. In the meantime, save the date. Legislators will be watching the turnout at these hearings and listening to your views. This is a great opportunity to make Illinois a leader among the states in providing better health care.

For more information, go to cbhconline.org/HCJC.

Gil Lenz
Oak Park

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