A bipartisan group of Illinois legislators from the House and Senate today announced the creation of a Children’s Health Caucus. The caucus will examine data on the current health and well-being of Illinois children and adolescents.
The caucus will be co-chaired by Sen. Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria), Sen. Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield), Rep. Camille Lilly (D-Chicago) and Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon).
Sen. Weaver said the caucus will do more than just look at the current health and well-being of Illinois children.
“We also want to look at those evidence-based policies and programs that will ensure that every child has the chance to attain the highest level of health,” said Weaver. “In looking at the best practices to achieve health equity, we’ll look at the entire age range from birth to adolescence.”
“Children face a unique set of health care challenges that require solutions based on sound, up-to-date data,” said Morrison. “It is imperative the health issues facing children are addressed early on to prevent more medically-complex conditions that can end up being more expensive and more difficult to treat later in life.”
Rep. Camille Lilly emphasized the need for the caucus to look at health equity issues.
“Every child needs access to quality health care in a timely manner regardless of that child’s zip code, race, or ethnicity,” said Lilly. “In addition, the caucus need to consider how a child’s health is impacted by poverty and other social determinants from housing to access to parks and recreational facilities.”
Rep. Tom Demmer said he expects the caucus to meet several times during the course of the year.
“Yet, in between those meetings, it is important that caucus members work to foster discussion about child health policy issues within each of our respective House and Senate caucuses,” said Demmer. “We can use our roles as legislators to champion the cause of children’s health and well-being with our colleagues when it comes to the appropriations process and substantive legislation.”
The caucus will be staffed by the newly formed Collaborative for Children’s Health Policy involving stakeholders from across the State. Founding organizations in the collaborative include:
- Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
- EverThrive Illinois
- Illinois Chapter of the Academy of Pediatrics
- Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation
- Ounce of Prevention Fund
- Voices for Illinois Children