Budget cuts threaten Southside hospital, other community centers

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CHICAGO -- Elected officials got on a bus Friday, touring the city's Roseland neighborhood for a closer look at the impact of the state's budget cuts.

“This budget impasse almost killed this hospital,” said Tim Egan, C.E.O. of Roseland Community Hospital. “Politics almost killed the new Roseland hospital.”

The tour started and ended at Roseland Community Hospital. Supporters call it a life-saving anchor of this area that could drown under the weight of the state's budget cuts.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly joined Cook County Commissioner Deborah Sims and community leaders on the bus tour.

“This community not only deserves this hospital but all the amenities that other communities have,” she said.

Organized by the union SEIU healthcare, the bus traveled down 111th St. to Halsted, to 115th making stops at places like Phalanx Family Services, where the director says hundreds of youth summer jobs were lost this year.

The budget impasse continues in Springfield, with democrats at odds with Governor Bruce Rauner over how to handle the state's cash crisis.

“I don't want the budget balanced off the backs of people who need the resources the most,” Kelly said. “I know he has to be fair, but let's look at loopholes that can be closed for people who have more money to do it.”

Activists say the budget freeze could impact access to quality healthcare and childcare in a community that needs more jobs and less crime.

A spokesperson for the governor points out Roseland Community Hospital will be getting its payments for Medicaid due to a recent court ruling, and issued the following statement:

“The state lacks the appropriation authority to distribute those federal funds because Speaker Madigan and the legislators he controls passed an unbalanced budget that was short by $4 billion dollars, which is why the governor vetoed them. The governor has continued to try to compromise, but unfortunately, the Speaker continues to block reforms.”

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