Rauner Administration is in Lockstep with Trump Administration’s New Guidance which Will Weaken Pre-existing Conditions Protections for State Residents

Effective immediately, the Trump administration issued new guidance for states seeking “state innovation waivers” under Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act. This proposal is another example of the Administration working to sabotage the Affordable Care Act, allowing “increased flexibility” for states wanting to diminish their ACA marketplace and undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Under this new federal guidance, states are also no longer bound by a requirement that they cover the same amount of people as the ACA currently does in their state, leaving more Illinoisans at risk of being left without coverage. These changes could also allow states to use federal subsidy dollars to divert people from purchasing quality coverage on the Marketplace and into buying risky junk insurance, forcing those with pre-existing conditions to bear all of the risks of a destabilizing market.

Not surprisingly, Governor Rauner’s administration is embracing the Trump Administration’s new guidance under the premise of “more affordable choices.” However, we know that this is a false choice: skimpier plans just means that health care consumers will have to bear higher medical debt in the future and people with pre-existing conditions will have no choice at all — just higher premiums.

This new Section 1332 guidance is the opposite of what Protect Our Care Illinois tried to accomplish with legislation this session: limiting short term plans and giving the General Assembly a greater say over waivers. By vetoing HB 2624, the Short-term, Limited Duration Insurance Act and HB 4165, the “Do No Harm” Health Care Act, Governor Rauner sends a clear signal that access to comprehensive care and the opportunity for public input are not priorities for this administration.

While we do not have a crystal ball to see future changes, we do have strong precedent from the Rauner Administration that leaves us fearful for Illinoisans. We’ve already seen the uninsured rate start to inch back up in Illinois due to sabotage by the federal government; now it’s up to the states to protect the health of their residents. With these two vetoes, Governor Rauner abdicated his responsibility to look out for the best interests of Illinois residents and protect our care. We urge legislators to override his vetoes in November and protect Illinois’ consumers from continued threats to health care.