Consumer Group Calls for New Competitive Health Care Marketplace

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Legislation is now before Governor Quinn

Illinois PIRG

Chicago, IL – Illinois policy-makers can address rising health care costs by implementing an effective health insurance exchange, according to a report released today by consumer advocacy group Illinois PIRG. The report comes Governor Quinn considers legislation that would create a legislative study committee and affirms a goal of creating an exchange before the end of the year.

“Illinois leaders have the flexibility to craft an exchange that enhances choice and competition,” said Brian Imus, “Consumers need this new exchange to lower costs and improve the quality of their coverage.”

The report, Building a Better Health Care Marketplace, details the steps policy-makers must take to ensure that the exchange lives up to its promise.  

“To succeed, this new health insurance marketplace must be run by and for Illinois businesses and consumers, not by and for the insurance lobby,” said Imus.  “It needs to have the power to negotiate for lower premiums and push for reforms that improve the quality of care.  It needs to be consumer-friendly. And it needs to be big and stable.  As Illinois policymakers create our exchange, they should focus on delivering results for consumers.”

Senate Bill 1555, passed by the Illinois General Assembly last month, would create a legislative committee to further evaluate and make final recommendations by September 30th on how best to set up an Illinois health insurance exchange. The bill still must be signed into law by Governor Quinn.

“Insurers and other special interests will try to undermine the exchange by preventing it from negotiating and keeping consumers in the dark about the value of their coverage,” Imus concluded, “but our leaders have to stand up for consumers. Making the health care marketplace more competitive is the best opportunity we have to give consumers more power and lower costs.”