The Campaign for Better Health Care is troubled by lack of recommendations on findings of Legislative Study Committee

Says Illinois must move forward  


ILLINOIS – The Campaign for Better Health Care (CBHC) released the following statement regarding the non-vote and lack of making any recommendations on the findings of the Legislative Study Committee tasked with developing the state’s competitive health care marketplace, or Exchange:

“The Campaign for Better Health Care is troubled by the lack of recommendations by the Legislative Study Committee today. Although most members of this committee expressed willingness to continue meeting in coming months and years, why do they want to continue to meet if they don’t want to make their recommendations public? ” said Jim Duffett, Executive Director of the Campaign for Better Health Care. “What is disturbing to Illinois small businesses and consumers is the possibility of certain committee members meeting behind closed doors to come up with legislation for the fall veto session instead of utilizing an open process and making these recommendations public today. The state needs to move forward in implementing the Affordable Care Act.“

To that end, CBHC submits the following:

Decision makers for this new competitive health care marketplace

  • We agree with the recommendation that the insurance industry, brokers, and agents will not directly serve on the decision-making board.
  • We believe that legislators should not be appointed to this board with voting privileges.  If they are appointed that must be non-voting members.
  • We agree that the four ex officio members (Department of Insurance, Healthcare and Family Service, Human Services, and Public Health) are non-voting members, and that the Attorney General’s appointees are voting members.
  • We believe five appointees by the Governor are an inadequate number, and not geographic and culturally diverse enough for our state.  This new competitive health care marketplace is designed to help small businesses and individuals, and as such, this board must be represented by a variety of consumers, small businesses and other stakeholders.
  • We would prefer to see the governance board comprised of 13 voting members, as follows:
    • 3 representatives from organizations representing communities of color
    • 2 representatives from small businesses (one each from Chicagoland and downstate)
    • 2 representatives from consumer organizations (one each from Chicagoland and downstate)
    • 1 representative from an organization representing the disability community
    • 1 representative from organized labor
    • 1 representative from a women’s organization
    • 1 representative from a rural based organization
    • 1 health actuary
    • 1 health economist 

Financing of the competitive health care marketplace and self-sustainability

  • We staunchly oppose any fees being levied on consumers within the exchange or a user fee on all Illinoisans.
  • We support multi-faceted funding options, with the largest funding mechanism being a progressive surtax on the insurance industry’s revenues.  The higher the percent of reserves that insurance companies have, the higher the surtax.  Leading health insurers have accumulated a combined 2010 surplus of $28,353,715,566, even while individuals and families in Illinois have paid a cumulative average rate increase of 181.8% since 2005. 

Due to the current economic situation, hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans have lost their health insurance and those with insurance are facing double-digit rate increases.  At the same time the insurance industry’s reserves increased by more than $2 billion in just 2010 over 2009 figures.  A surtax on industry reserves is a fair and equitable funding mechanism for a structure that will produce more customers and thus more profit to the insurance industry.  The insurance industry will benefit from it financially – they should support it financially.

Role of the marketplace in controlling costs, improving quality of care, and maximizing efficiency

We believe the new competitive health care marketplace should leverage the combined purchasing power of the one million plus individuals who will be participating in it by negotiating for more affordable rates, just as large corporations outside this marketplace do.  This leverage will stabilize costs for small businesses and individuals, increase efficiencies, and hold the insurance industry accountable for a greater quality of care.

We look forward to a competitive health care marketplace that gives consumers more control, quality choices, and better protections when buying insurance.  We have a real opportunity right now to design a marketplace that brings real competition and greater transparency to the insurance industry, ingredients that work to bring down consumer costs.  We can create a marketplace that incorporates real protections for consumers and levels the playing field for small businesses and individuals in Illinois.  We hope that the members of the General Assembly charged with this task will take these ideals into consideration and create a structure that benefits all who use it.

About the Campaign for Better Health Care

Since 1989, the Campaign for Better Health Care, a non-partisan 501(c)3, has focused on grassroots organizing in Illinois to educate health care consumers and build coalitions with other organizations to ensure quality, affordable health care for all.  For more information, please visit