AARP Illinois Strives to Address Disparities Across State

Posted on 01/09/21

Illinois State Capital Building

As legislators consider a collection of bills during the lame-duck session, AARP IL applauds, supports and appreciates the efforts of the Illinois Black Caucus for addressing disparities related to economic access, healthcare, education, and criminal justice.

Racial disparities keep Illinoisans from living longer, healthier, and productive lives. They obstruct the health security and financial resilience that enable people to thrive equitably as they age. 

AARP Illinois fights every day to create the systemic and structural changes needed to ensure equitable health, housing stability and economic systems for older adults of color, their loved ones and family caregivers. 

We fully support the following key pieces within the social justice agenda
currently being considered during legislative session:

Health Care and Human Service Reform Act

HB 3840 – Senator Hunter

HB 5548 – Representative Lilly

Culturally-humble, community-based health programs with measurable outcomes on chronic health issues that target African American/Black older adults, Hispanic/Latino older adults and other communities of color are critical.  The Illinois Health Care and Human Services Reform Act, with its focus on chronic disease, life expectancy, and addressing implicit bias in the health care system, is an important first step in addressing racial health disparities in older adults.  

AARP Illinois supports the following provisions within the legislation:

  • Access to critical PPE for health care, long-term care, and aging providers
  • Improvement of access to health care services and health outcomes for all residents of the State of Illinois
  • Enhanced credentials, certification, and continuing education of medical care staff and other health care providers.
  • Heightened state transparency regarding racial and ethnic demographics, access to care, and COVID-19 reporting data.
  • Expansion and creation of state health and human services commissions, boards, task forces, and advisory committees to eliminate systemic racism and advance equitable solutions.  Such public and public-private partnerships should include the representation of an aging organization and a family caregiver when the subject matter deems is appropriate.
  • Broadened employee opportunities to use paid sick leave for caregiving responsibilities.
  • The development and implementation of dementia training and educational services for Adult Protective Services.
  • Testing and notification of Legionnaires' disease in Illinois' long-term care facilities.

Economic Equity Act

HB 2685 – Senator Belt

HB 5871 – Representative Harper

Usurious and unfair lending practices are extremely harmful to those 50+, especially those on low and fixed incomes, who are lured into a cycle of debt causing significant damage to their long term financial security leading to significant problems paying for essential items like food, health care and medicine.  The Anti-Predatory Lending Act would prohibit lenders from charging more than 36% APR (annual percentage rate) on consumer loans. Considering that, in Illinois, the average APR on a payday loan is 297%, and the average APR on a title loan is 179%, these capped rates would help many avoid the cycle of debt these types of lending services cause.

Education Equity 

HB 2170 – Senator Lightford

Uniform Demographic Data Collection:  AARP Illinois strongly supports the collection and public reporting of statistical data on the racial and ethnic demographics for programs administered by state agencies, especially in the departments of Aging, Human Services, Healthcare, Public Health, and Transportation. To address problems of equity and fairness, knowledge of disparities that exist is crucial.  Uniform demographic data collection will go far to shine a light on issues that must be addressed.

This story is provided by AARP Illinois. Visit the AARP Illinois page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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