(Chicago, IL) — September 22, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn yesterday launched the Illinois Health Care Reform Implementation Council’s first public meeting, which was held in Chicago, focusing on unwarranted insurance premium hikes.
“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 Quinn.
Quinn created the panel through an Executive Order in response to the enactment of President Barack Obama’s health care reform.
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.
Quinn’s 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.
Illinois Department of Insurance Director Michael McRaith, 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.
Additional panel members include: vice chairs Julie Hamos, director of the Department of Health and Family Services; McRaith; 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 group will hold additional meetings in the coming months in Peoria, Springfield and other locations.
The council will submit its first report to Quinn by Dec. 31, 2010.
Members of the public can find more information and submit comments by visiting HealthCareReform.Illinois.gov.