Illinois Cares

 A Plan to Lead the Nation In Expanding Access to Affordable Healthcare

Attempts by Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans to dismantle healthcare threaten insurance coverage for millions of Americans, including over 1 million Illinoisans. In the face of this threat, Bruce Rauner has remained silent, refusing to stand with a bipartisan group of governors in opposition.

Meanwhile, hard-working Illinois families could face losing healthcare coverage, rising premiums, and limited selection in the health insurance marketplace. As governor, I will use every tool at my disposal to ensure that Illinoisans have the healthcare coverage they need, and the first step is introducing a healthcare option called IllinoisCares.   

I propose a public health insurance option that would allow every Illinois resident the chance to buy low-cost health insurance. I will work with legislators and the health care community to design this public option to provide another choice in the health insurance marketplace, to lower the cost of premiums and mitigate market uncertainty – at no cost to taxpayers.   

If the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remains the law of the land, my plan would provide an important avenue to expand access to affordable healthcare in Illinois. But if Republicans in Washington are successful in repealing ACA, IllinoisCares would become even more necessary and could give Illinois a path to expanded innovative healthcare coverage at the state level.

I hope there continues to be conversation about how we can expand healthcare coverage across our country, including the consideration of a federal single payer system, which I support. But with Donald Trump in the White House and Republicans in control of the House and Senate, it’s now up to the states to innovate. That’s why I’m proposing a public option for Illinois, which would be the first in the nation leading in this way.

IllinoisCares would allow Illinois residents to buy into the state’s Medicaid system:

  • Because Medicaid is individually administered by states, the program offers a unique opportunity for states to function as laboratories and lead in the creation of progressive healthcare policy.
  • With the creation of IllinoisCares, Illinois would be the first state in the nation to expand Medicaid in this manner.
  • Medicaid is a lower-cost option than private insurance, giving Illinoisans another choice when faced with rising premiums. It can be offered in every county, as opposed to the dwindling number of plans on the Affordable Care Act exchanges in many counties.
  • Illinois currently spends about $3,350 per year per adult and $2,108 per child for Medicaid coverage.[1]While an actuarial analysis will have to be completed to set premiums and cost-sharing rates for the program, it is clear that IllinoisCares offers a lower cost option for families compared to those being offered in the private insurance market.
  • As a Medicaid buy-in option, IllinoisCares would require Illinoisans who do not receive federal healthcare subsidies to pay premiums to cover the full cost of Medicaid coverage. As a result, there should be no additional cost to taxpayers for this program.
  • Participants who qualify for ACA tax credits could use those to help pay for their premiums.
  • IllinoisCares would be designed to encourage healthy young adults as well as older Americans who are not yet eligible for Medicare to participate and would help ensure a robust patient mix.
  • IllinoisCares could allow for affordable deductibles and copays as well as open enrollment and special enrollment periods, which are all standard features that keep plans affordable and stable in the private insurance market.
  • In the event of full repeal of the ACA, I will work to make sure IllinoisCares gives all Illinoisans affordable health insurance, and will enact patient protections so that Illinoisans with pre-existing conditions will not be discriminated against in healthcare coverage.

“As Donald Trump and Republicans in Washington try to destroy the progress made by the ACA, Bruce Rauner sits in Springfield doing nothing for the more than 1 million Illinoisans whose coverage is at risk,” said JB Pritzker. “Our state has the chance to lead the nation with a progressive idea that expands coverage while offering residents an affordable healthcare option. My proposal, IllinoisCares, is a public health insurance option for the people of Illinois. As governor, I will do everything I can to make sure that all Illinoisans have quality, affordable healthcare coverage at the best price possible.”

[1] http://www.kff.org/medicaid/state-indicator/medicaid-spending-per-full-benefit-enrollee/