CHICAGO – September 22, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today charged the Illinois Health Care Reform Implementation Council with protecting Illinois’ health consumers from unwarranted insurance premium hikes. The council, which held its first public meeting today, was created by Governor Quinn to guide the state’s implementation of national health care reform.
“Making sure that everyone in Illinois has access to quality, affordable health care is one of my top priorities, and I look forward to working with this council to achieve that goal,” said Governor Quinn. “As we work together to make health care reform a reality, we must also do everything we can to stop unfair insurance premium increases.”
Governor Quinn created the Illinois Health Care Reform Implementation Council through an Executive Order in response to the enactment of the federal Affordable Care Act. The federal act requires health insurance companies to provide a justification for premium increases. It also allows states to create rate review processes that can prevent companies that impose unwarranted rate increases from participating in the health care insurance exchanges created by the federal act.
The council will make recommendations to assist the state in establishing a health insurance exchange and other consumer protection reforms; reforming Medicaid eligibility and delivery systems; assuring high-quality care; identifying federal grants and other non-governmental funding sources and fostering the widespread adoption of electronic medical records.
The Illinois Department of Insurance, through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has already began establishing a system to more closely review proposed increases in health insurance premiums.
“Governor Quinn has directed the state agencies that will play a role in implementing health care reform to work together to deliver on the promise of the Affordable Care Act,” said Michael Gelder, chair of the council and Governor Quinn’s senior health policy advisor. “As we implement the federal reforms, our goals are to improve the health of Illinoisans by increasing access to health care, reduce treatment disparities, control costs, and improve the affordability, quality and effectiveness of health care.”
Additional members include: vice chairs Julie Hamos, director of the Department of Health and Family Services and Michael McRaith, director of the Department of Insurance; Dr. Damon Arnold, director of the Department of Public Health; Charles Johnson, director, Department on Aging; Grace Hong-Duffin, acting secretary, Department of Human Services; James Sledge, director, Central Management Services and David Vaught, director of the Office of Management and Budget.
The council will hold additional meetings in the coming months in Peoria, Springfield and other locations. It will then submit its first report to Governor Quinn by Dec. 31, followed by periodic reports on the implementation of its recommendations. In addition to attending the council’s meetings, members of the public can find more information and submit comments by visiting HealthCareReform.Illinois.gov.