IL programs in limbo due to no state budget - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

IL programs in limbo due to no state budget


It’s been more than two months that the state of Illinois has yet to agree on a state budget for the 2016 fiscal year, putting some programs and facilities in limbo.

Southern Illinois residents and their some of their state representatives gathered in Herrin, IL to discuss programs and facilities facing possible closure. 

““I went there for 36 treatments. I had radiation therapy. It was terrible, but it saved my life," southern Illinois resident, Janet Capps said.

Capps, a cancer survivor, says the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program helped her in more ways than one.

"I would’ve died without this help. I mean my children would be without a mother," Capps said.

The program partners with the Shawnee Health Service.

"The program operates to connect people with physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners in the area who either have a way of subsidizing their care if they have no way to pay for their care," director for the Outreach Program at Shawnee Health, Nancy Muzzarelli said. " So we do screening mammography, they provide annual exams for women and pap tests for women to test for cervical cancer."

Muzzarelli says if there is any abnormal finding, often a woman will need a diagnostic mammogram, or another pap test or other kinds of diagnostics tests.

For women who don't have any insurance, Muzzarelli says it's very difficult for women to follow through with that.

"As of July 1, the program is changing to now allow them to help them (women) with insurance," Muzzarelli said. 

Muzzarelli said before they were not allowed to help women with insurance. "But because of the various plans in the Affordable Care Act, there are lots of people who are forced to accept plans that have very large deductibles. So they may be insured, but they still don't have coverage for these services that we're talking about," Muzzarelli said.

And although the program is still functioning, Muzzarelli says she's uncertain how long that’ll last due to no agreement on the state budget.

“The delays are problematic because it is still approved and it is still operating, although the funding isn’t there to actually pay for services today," Muzzarelli said. "It’s more delays. Even once we have a budget, it could be weeks before people can actually access these services.”

And with more than a month into the new fiscal year, Muzzarelli says it’s time for legislators on both sides to come to an agreement.

“What happened to the art of compromise," Muzzarelli asked. "You know we need that in Illinois very badly. We need a budget so that our state can start functioning again and moving forward and people are being damaged and being hurt by this and it’s gotta stop...soon.”

Janet Capps agrees, and says she hopes programs like the Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, stay on the table for the long run.

“It saved my life," Capps said.

The Senate was in session starting Wednesday afternoon.

The House will be in session next Tuesday at noon.  It’s uncertain when an official budget will be passed.

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