State Legislative Agenda
ERA’s Advocacy team focuses on initiatives that improve the health and lives of LGBTQ+ communities and other marginalized communities. We work to advance patient access to affirming health care and address social determinants of health. Below is a list of legislative initiatives that we support and information on how to get involved in advocacy!
2024 Legislative Priorities
The Illinois Patient Access to 340B Pharmacy Protection Act
In recent years, pharmaceutical companies have been attacking the federal 340B program by restricting access to discounted medications at contract pharmacies. At Howard Brown, we use a wide network of contract pharmacies across Chicago to ensure that our patients can access affordable medications no matter where they live. The Illinois Patient Access to 340B Pharmacy Protection Act (SB3727) prohibits pharmaceutical manufacturers from prohibiting, restricting, or interfering with a local pharmacy that contracts with a 340B covered entity, including community health centers like Howard Brown, to dispense medications acquired through the 340B program. This legislation will help to ensure that the medications needed by patients are available at their local pharmacies and safeguard critical 340B savings that we invest in expanding services and programs our patients rely on.
The Prior Authorization Reform Act
At Howard Brown, many of our patients have experienced denials of coverage for necessary and life-saving medications due to burdensome and unnecessary prior authorization requirements from insurers. This bill would prohibit health insurance providers from requiring prior authorization for a prescription drug prescribed to a patient by a health care professional for 6 or more consecutive months. It would also prohibit prior authorization requirements for certain specific FDA approved prescription drugs, including insulin, human immunodeficiency virus prevention medication such as PrEP and PEP; human immunodeficiency virus treatment medication; viral hepatitis medication; and hormonal therapy drugs used for gender-affirming care.
Supporting Implementation of the Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act
In 2021, Illinois passed the Comprehensive Personal Health and Safety and Sexual Health Education Act which requires comprehensive sex education that is age, culturally, and developmentally appropriate be taught in schools that offer sex education. Even with this important step, 72% of public-school districts in Illinois self-reported they do not provide any sexual health education to their students. One barrier for public schools in implementing comprehensive sex ed has been lack of funding for training and curriculum development. This bill requests an appropriation of $20 million in the FY25 State Budget as a grantmaking program to support those public-school districts that want to teach comprehensive sex education that is vital to the health and safety of Illinois students. This bill is led by our partners at Equality IL and Planned Parenthood Illinois Action.
Nonprofit Board Diversity Reporting
This bill would amend the General Not for Profit Corporation Act of 1986 to require non-profits that provide $1,000,000 or more in grants each year to release aggregated demographic information of its board of directors and officers. This including race, ethnicity, gender, disability status, veteran status, sexual orientation, and gender identity. This is to ensure non-profit boards and leadership are reflective of the populations they serve. This bill is led by our partners at Equality Illinois. Contact your legislator and urge them to support this bill.
Strengthening & Protecting Illinois HIV Funding Infrastructure (SPIHFI)
The Strengthening & Protecting Illinois HIV Funding Infrastructure (SPIHFI) bill would provide a$2 million increase in state funding for HIV education, prevention, testing, and treatment in the state’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget. This would include $2.5 million in new funding to launch eight Rapid Start for HIV Treatment pilot sites that establish HIV treatment standards that would connect people with treatment within 7 days of initial diagnosis or within 7 days of referral to HIV medical care. This will help more people get tested for HIV and immediate get them into treatment and connect them with additional social services. This bill is led by our partners at AIDS Foundation of Chicago.
Connection to HIV Testing and Linkage to Care (TLC) Act
The Connection to HIV Testing and Linkage to Care (TLC) Act, (HB5417) and (SB3711), would enact the following reforms: Mandates at-home HIV and/or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) testing kits be covered by insurers and Medicaid without cost-sharing; creates 8 rapid start pilot sites that would connect people with treatment within 7 days of initial diagnosis or within 7 days of referral to HIV medical care; and ensures that all county jails provide HIV/AIDS education to people who are incarcerated and visitors, as well as link them to HIV testing as mandated by Illinois’ County Jail Act. This bill is led by our partners at AIDS Foundation of Chicago.
LGBTQ+ and HIV Cultural Competency for Legal Professionals
Illinois recently passed a bill that requires cultural competency training that includes information on best practices for providing affirming care to people living with HIV, and people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities as part of continuing medical education for healthcare providers. To further eliminate discrimination faced by LGBTQ+ and people living with HIV (PLWH), this bill would urge the Illinois Supreme Court to adopt a continuing education mandate for LGBTQ+ and HIV cultural competency education for attorneys, judges, and courtroom staff. LGBTQ+ and PLWH are disproportionately incarcerated and have negative experiences when trying to access legal services due to their identities and HIV status. This bill is led by our partners at Equality IL. You can show you support for by reaching out to your legislators and ask them to support these important bills.
Supporting Trans Candidates Running for Chicago’s Elected School Board Act
Updates the Illinois School Code to ensure trans individuals who are candidates for Chicago’s elected school board don’t have to publish their deadnames on their nominating petitions. This requirement is harmful to trans and gender diverse individuals who would be forced to release a deadname or inadvertently out themselves as these names would become public record. This bill is led by our partners at Equality IL.
Healthy Illinois for All
Howard Brown continues to support the Health Illinois for All campaign to urge for full funding, reopening of enrollment, and expansion of the Health Benefits for Immigrant Adults and Health Benefits for Immigrant Seniors programs that provide Medicaid-like health insurance for undocumented immigrants in IL.
2023 State Legislative Agenda
To learn more about how Howard Brown Health contributes to vital advocacy work and has an impact on local, state, and federal policymaking, please visit our Advocacy webpage. To stay up to date with advocacy and policy news like this, sign up for the Center for Education, Research, and Advocacy (ERA)’s newsletter.