(Chicago, IL) — March 24, 2010. President Barack Obama yesterday approved the new health care reform law, but Governor Pat Quinn or a Governor Bill Brady will be largely responsible for carrying it out in Illinois.
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune‘s Judith Graham, Illinois Department of Insurance Director Michael McRaith swatted aside one of the central myths of the health care reform legislation that it is a “federal government takeover of health care”.
Graham asked McRaith: “Will the federal government take over regulation of insurance?”
McRaith’s response squished the myth like an insect landing on your windshield.
“There are people throwing around statements about this being a government takeover of health insurance. The truth is, it’s far from it. Now we’ll have national standards, but the health insurance market will continue to be regulated at the state level.”
In addition to the regulation, the state–not the federal government–will be responsible for creating and managing the high-risk insurance pools–(here it is the Illinois Comprehensive Health Insurance Program)–to be implemented within the next six-months, challenging unreasonable insurance company rate hikes, and building the insurance exchange that will offer standardized insurance plans to the uninsured and small businesses, starting on January 1, 2014.
The success of the Obama’s health care reform launch in Illinois therefore will fall either partially or entirely to Quinn, unless Brady wins in November.
A Brady victory would likely recast Illinois’ implementation of the law. First, Brady would undoubtedly remove the law’s chief cheerleader in state government–McRaith–from office. Second, a Brady-appointed Insurance Department Director would less likely challenge insurance premium increases and more likely drag his or her feet on the insurance exchange creation.
For partisans of the Obama health care reform law, if you think the political challenge to the law’s promise in Illinois is over–you’re wrong. In fact, it’s just beginning. It’s fate largely hangs on the outcome of the Quinn-Brady gubernatorial contest in November.
If Bill Brady defeats Pat Quinn in November, the Obama health care reform in Illinois may indeed be in jeopardy.
A failure to realize swiftly and completely the law’s potential under a Governor Brady could expose the “federal government takeover of health care” myth as, ironically, the law’s chief weakness.