Healthcare landscape in Illinois could be focus heading into November

(The Center Square) – One of the issues expected to continue atop the minds of policymakers well after next week’s primary and into the November general election is the healthcare landscape, and even then, one Illinois insurance broker doesn’t expect much to change.

Illinois House Majority Leader Greg Harris, D-Chicago, said people are frustrated by the increasing cost of prescription drugs and healthcare services.

“They’re paying huge insurance premiums and then they have a $10,000 deductible, and their costs are going through the roof and even though technically they have an insurance card they don’t feel they don’t have access to care,” Harris said. “It’s a huge issue.”

Davesurance.com insurance broker Dave Castillo said he doesn’t expect any major changes in the next few years, but he said there could be movement after November.

“Everything’s sort of in limbo, probably until the election,” Castillo said. “I don’t anticipate the state making any moves unless there’s a regime change federally or not.”

Harris said House Bill 5442 remains in committee. It would require state agencies to study a variety of healthcare plans in an effort to find the path toward lowering healthcare costs.

“Looking at reinsurance of different plans, it would look at a public option, it would look at Medicaid buy-in, but really study them to see what are the details because this is complex and you want to look at things before you move,” Harris said.

Castillo said it is important any study includes experts from within the healthcare and insurance industry “so you don’t have unintended consequences.”

“That makes me feel good that they’re at least thinking about talking to people who have a clue, right,” Castillo said.

A Medicaid buy-in option is something Gov. J.B. Pritzker campaigned on in 2018. Such an idea has yet to advance. Castillo has said it could put more stress on an already strained Medicaid system.

Other things Harris said state lawmakers could consider include limiting out of pocket expenses or measures to limit co-pays and rein in drug costs.

“We’ll see where those go,” Harris said.

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