Daily Northwestern: Schakowsky receives award for public health advocacy
February 7, 2012
U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston) was recently honored as the American Public Health Association's 2011 Distinguished Legislator of the Year.
The award honors lawmakers who are strong proponents of public health and have taken steps to advance the cause. In a Q-and-A with the APHA published Tuesday, Schakowsky noted her top priority has long been the achievement of universal health coverage.
"A week does not go by in my district office that we don't hear about a health care tragedy: a family bankrupted by medical bills; a woman with breast cancer unable to get insurance; a senior who can't afford her prescription drugs; or a young man with a disability sidelined because he can't afford the services needed to be a productive member of our community,"Schakowsky said in the Q-and-A.
The Evanston resident championed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010 and has spoken out against the privatization of Social Security and Medicare.
She has also advocated for women's issues, criticizing proposed funding cuts to reproductive health services and supporting the expansion of contraception as required coverage under health reform.
"I believe that access to contraceptives and reproductive health care is a basic right,"Schakowsky said in the Q-and-A. "Access to effective contraception not only reduces unintended pregnancies - it is critical to improving women's overall health and economic well-being .. It is no secret that substantial public health benefits and cost savings emerge when preventive services are accessible and affordable."
Schakowsky is currently chief deputy whip in the House Democratic Leadership. She is a founding member of the Equality Caucus and is part of the Progressive Caucus, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and Populist Caucus, among others.
Prior to her tenure in the U.S. House of Representatives, Schakowsky served for eight years in the Illinois General Assembly.