Rauner Raises Awareness Of Breast Cancer; Critics Raise Awareness Of Rauner's Cuts

Oct 26, 2016

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Wednesday, Gov. Bruce Rauner did his part with a live video session on Facebook from the Simmons Cancer Institute in Springfield.

Rauner, a Republican, touted a new law he signed this summer that requires insurance companies and Medicaid to cover 3-D mammograms. He congratulated a nurse practitoner, who stood alongside him to answer commenters' questions, for celebrating her one-year anniversary of being cancer free.

"My own mother-in-law has been diagnosed twice. She's a breast cancer survivor and she's doing wonderfully well. Bless her," he said."

But advocates were quick to point out that under Rauner, Illinois also reduced funding of state-paid breast and cervical cancer screenings for uninsured women.

The governor called that program "important." But he says women covered by it can now get screened under the Affordable Care Act.

"The other critical issue is we have not been funding our health and human services properly for many years, we have not been funding our schools properly for many years. I can't find a time when we've had a balanced budget. We're in an unsustainable situation. That's a tragedy for health care services and for our schools and our teachers," he said.

Rauner then repeated his frequent call for changes -- like redistricting and reducing workers' compensation costs -- which he says will improve the economy.

Immediately after the stream ended, the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force followed up with one of its own.

"We went to say thank you to the governor for using his platform for raising awareness," said associate director Teena Francois-Blue, before adding "however...".

"While it's important for us to balance the budget, and to do reform, all of these things … A balanced budget should not come at the cost of a woman's life," she said.

Francois-Blue says some women -- like non-citizens - are not covered by Obamacare.