American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Consumers

Illinois Fails to Pass State Health Exchange

The veto session in Illinois has ended as House Speaker Michael Madigan adjourned his chamber on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2014, meaning that no other measures will be heard until the Governor-elect Bruce Rauner is seated.

A bill sponsored by State Rep. Robyn Gabel would have guaranteed future funding to create a state-run health insurance exchange. Even with a Democratic supermajority, the measure ultimately was unable to receive enough traction before the session had ended and was not called for a vote on the House floor, effectively killing the measure.

With 2014 being the last year that the federal government is offering financial assistance to states to get their own exchanges up and running, Illinois could now miss out on $270 million that would have covered the costs of setting up the information technology framework as well as operational costs for the first few years to run the exchange. Given the state's budget woes, any future plans to authorize an exchange will now come with the additional burden of finding funding.

The failure to implement a state-based exchange could also leave approximately 1 million eligible Illinois citizens without health insurance subsidies depending on how the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a case that suggests that the Affordable Care Act allows for subsidies only in states running their own insurance markets.

Currently, 14 states and the District of Columbia have launched their own exchanges with federal grant assistance. While some exchanges have been seen as successful, others have been struggling to gain momentum.