Nov 28, 2011
Rahm Emanuel’s budget, which just passed the Chicago City Council, seriously cuts services necessary to working people. Among the most heinous of these cuts is the closing of six of the city’s 12 mental health clinics, alongside the privatization of the only seven medical clinics still run by the city.
Some patients would be routed to privatized clinics, but there will be fees and restrictions, because these clinics seek to make a profit. The city clinics have always operated on a “no one turned away” basis – regardless of ability to pay.
At a recent demonstration outside of City Hall, several current patients testified. They told the audience that they are currently able to function somewhat normally in society, but only because they receive regular care. That is, consistent attention, by the same doctors and nurses, to their medications and therapy. Cutting the clinics will pull the rug out from under them.
Everyone knows what the consequences of these cuts will be: more homelessness, more violence. Patients unable to receive services will self-medicate, go without, or turn to alcohol or drugs. Some will end up in already overflowing emergency rooms not suited for their care. There will be more incidents of police shooting the mentally disturbed, and the opposite – recall that a mentally disturbed woman shot a police officer on a bus late at night two years back.
Rahm Emanuel knows perfectly well what will happen, and he cuts anyway. His constituency is not the poor and disabled – but the bankers who call the city’s budget their own!