CHICAGO – September 26, 2009. Governor Pat Quinn visited the Howard Brown Health Center to highlight the importance and need for affordable and accessible healthcare. The Howard Brown Health Center provides comprehensive primary medical care, mental health services, and social support to more than 36,000 community members, many of whom are uninsured and underinsured residents.
“For families who are struggling through these difficult economic times, the need for accessible, affordable and quality healthcare has never been greater,” said Governor Quinn. “In particular, thousands of underinsured and uninsured citizens are unable to afford basic healthcare. I commend the Howard Brown Health Center for their efforts to help people get the care and support they need.”
In an effort to help families cope with the rising costs of healthcare, Governor Quinn this year signed the mini-COBRA law to make health insurance more affordable for unemployed workers and their families. The law gives former employees an opportunity to receive the 65-percent premium reduction provided under the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), regardless of the size of the former employer.
“Illinois families live with a quiet but profoundly acute need for health insurance reform,” said Michael T. McRaith, Director of the Illinois Department of Insurance (DOI). “Howard Brown Health Center has done its part to help a low-income, underserved population survive during an unprecedented healthcare crisis. Overhauling the current, failing healthcare system is crucial to ensure that our autistic children, our sisters fighting breast cancer, our neighbors living with HIV and our spouses suffering from clinical depression receive adequate health insurance.”
Director McRaith also serves as president of the board of directors for the Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Plan (ICHIP, a high-risk health insurance pool) and directs the State’s Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP).
Founded in 1974 to provide testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases within the gay community, Howard Brown has become the Midwest’s premier lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) healthcare, research, and social service organization.
The Center’s multi-site operation includes a main health center in Uptown, the Triad Health practice at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, the Broadway Youth Center in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, and three Brown Elephant Resale Shops in Chicago and Oak Park.