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As Nevada moves forward with a public option, Dems here remain silent

Thursday, Jun 10, 2021

* Candidate JB Pritzker in 2018

My public health insurance option plan, called IllinoisCares, would allow even more Illinoisans to be covered and would give middle class families and small businesses a break on the high cost of health insurance. I will work with legislators and healthcare stakeholders to implement this public option to provide another choice in the health insurance marketplace. It will act as a buffer against rising premiums and market uncertainty – at no cost to taxpayers.

You have to give Pritzker credit for keeping or at least trying to keep a lot of his campaign promises, but there’s been no progress on that one. Not even a mention.

* Nevada is moving ahead

Nevada Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak signed a law Wednesday, creating a new state health insurance plan to compete with private insurers.

With the governor’s signature, Nevada became just the second state with a public option. The other is Washington.

The Nevada Public Option essentially allows the state to work with private insurers to craft low-cost policies. The policies will not become available until at least 2026, the law said.

Pritzker has said in the past that Medicaid needs to be strengthened here before the state can implement IllinoisCares. Illinois’ Medicaid reimbursement rate is among the lowest in the country, so it’s tough as it is finding physicians without adding potentially millions more people to the system. But the whole thing has completely dropped off the radar screen.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

10 Comments »
  1. - Grandson of Man - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 10:21 am:

    Pritzker has been given a little slack by the increased ACA premium subsidies in the Biden stimulus that will last two years. Every GOP voted against helping people afford health insurance. And they want to run on that in a gubernatorial campaign?


  2. - blue line - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 10:22 am:

    But managed care is working so well here in Illinois! ~snark


  3. - SWIL_Voter - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 10:27 am:

    These state level universal schemes don’t work, can’t work. Has to be federal to work.


  4. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 10:45 am:

    Why won’t it work?


  5. - Back to the Future - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 10:50 am:

    I think the first pass at a national health system was introduced about the same time as Social Security. It still is introduced every session, but goes nowhere.
    Good to see the Governor raising the issue. If he could pass a health insurance idea it could be a landmark event for other states to follow.


  6. - Panther Pride - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 10:51 am:

    Didn’t HFS and DoI just complete a feasibility study on expanding healthcare in like April that the governor fully supported? I get that he hasn’t said much on the topic recently, but I don’t know that I would say there hasn’t been any progress.


  7. - Pro-Vax - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 1:42 pm:

    As the previous poster said HFS released a feasibility study on this back in April - googling HFS Healthcare Feasibility study should bring it up. It doesn’t address network adequacy but does talk about different ways to increase insurance enrollment including state-based exchange. There doesn’t seem to be any fiscal notes attached to the suggestions but they will be costly. Public hearings are supposed to start on it over the summer.


  8. - Techie - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 3:31 pm:

    “These state level universal schemes don’t work, can’t work. Has to be federal to work.”

    Would you care to cite any evidence? Apparently not.

    As long as you have a sufficiently diverse pool of patients, there’s no reason why a public option can’t work. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be the least expensive option, although it certainly could be since profits and exorbitant CEO and upper management costs are taken out of the equation with a public option.

    It would require a lot of careful planning, but done right it is feasible and would be great for Illinoisians.


  9. - Mary - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 4:14 pm:

    It can’t happen. A few reasons:

    1) They couldn’t even make it work in Vermont. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/why-vermonts-single-payer-effort-failed-and-what-democrats-can-learn-from-it/2019/04/29/c9789018-3ab8-11e9-a2cd-307b06d0257b_story.html

    2) Rich people are not going to tolerate substandard health care. So that means they will leave the public system in IL, or leave the state of IL. (Even if you federalize it, you’ll get the two-tiered system you see in the UK, where anyone with money has private insurance to get outside of the NHS.)

    3) Unions are not going to tolerate substandard health care for their members. Access to those plans (especially in the trades) is a huge selling point for belonging to the union in the first place. Why would they surrender that value here in IL, of all places? (Union leverage is also a big reason why the Cadillac tax disappeared in 2020 at the federal level. Good luck trying to impose something similar here).

    4) The tax increases that would be needed to pay for what is demanded (example: HB158 which only passed because all of the requirements were “subject to appropriation” that everyone knew would never be appropriated because the real-world costs would be astronomical.)

    5) Keep cutting the doc reimbursement rates and you get fewer doctors willing to operate within the system, which we already have a problem for with Medicaid/medicare anyway.


  10. - Ebenezer - Thursday, Jun 10, 21 @ 6:05 pm:

    Health Care Reform: n. A political fallacy wherein the legislature reduces health care spending without reducing health care income.


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