NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 12, 2007

Illinois' Adequate Health Care Task Force recently delivered to Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) and the legislature its final recommendations on how to insure all state residents, which could cost taxpayers $3.1 billion to $3.6 billion in the first year of operation, says Devon Herrick, senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Included in the task force's recommendations:

  • Expansions of Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program, and providing insurance subsidies to families earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level ($82,600 in 2007 for a family of four).
  • An individual mandate, under which the state would require all residents to obtain health coverage; it also would force employers to provide health coverage to their workers or pay into a state fund -- an idea known as "pay or play."
  • Two new regulations -- guaranteed issue, which forces insurers to accept all applicants, regardless of any pre-existing medical conditions and community rating, which requires insurers to charge a flat rate to all, regardless of their age or health, respectively.

If enacted, health care experts fear the proposal will distort the insurance market and increase Illinoisans' state tax burden, says Herrick. Many task force members acknowledged the proposal has shortcomings.  Some said the plan, if implemented, would increase health care costs, reduce consumer choice of health care coverage, have a negative effect on the quality of health care, and restrain job growth--the opposite of the intended effect.

"The hybrid plan proposal is going in the exact opposite direction that Congress is taking and that many employers are adopting -- that is, getting consumers more actively involved in becoming health care consumers by giving them a financial stake in their health care decisions," says Pamela Mitroff, an Illinois-based marketing consultant and task force member said.

Source: Devon Herrick, "Illinois Health Care Task Force Report Draws Critics," Heartland Institute, April 1, 2007.


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