Hundreds of Physicians, Organizations Sign Letters in Support of Sweetened Beverage Tax

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

In advance of the Finance Committee hearing and repeal vote next week, the Cook County Alliance for Healthy Kids delivered letters of support for the sweetened beverage tax – signed by hundreds of physicians and organizations – to commissioners earlier this week. The delivery followed County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s annual budget address to the Board of Commissioners.

In her address, Preckwinkle announced that repealing the Cook County sweetened beverage tax would likely result in the closure of community health centers, reduction of health access – especially in the Northwest suburbs – and could create areas where the County would be unable to provide services at all. The reduction of these critical, community-based medical services also means essential healthcare workers would lose their jobs and focus would be shifted away from preventive care.

In response, hundreds of doctors, as well as immigrant advocacy groups, health organizations and labor unions representing tens of thousands of county residents have signed letters in support of the use of revenue from this tax to fund critical County healthcare services and public health promotion initiatives.

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Health

The letter initiative was led by the Cook County Alliance for Healthy Kids, the Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR). ICIRR’s letter notes its support of revenue from this tax “to help maintain the Cook County Health and Hospitals System, which provides needed services to anyone who is low income or uninsured, regardless of immigration status, and who likely have no other source of care.”

The individuals and organizations that have signed these letters remain vigilant in support of policies that can improve the health and wellbeing of our communities, families and children, including the County’s sweetened beverage tax. “We are urging commissioners to stand up to beverage companies and choose the plan that helps maintain services while improving the opportunities for so many young people to live a healthy life,” reads the letter signed by the Cook County Alliance for Healthy Kids and 35 other health and neighborhood organizations.

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