A majority of Illinoisans have difficulty affording health care and
prescription drugs according to a new Consumer Healthcare Experience State
Survey (CHESS) commissioned in January 2020 by Protect Our Care Illinois and
Altarum’s Healthcare Value Hub, with the support of the Robert Wood Johnson
Foundation. The survey found that over half (56 percent) of Illinois adults
experienced healthcare affordability burdens in the past year and four out of
five (81 percent) are worried about affording healthcare in the future. For
most respondents, addressing the high cost of healthcare is their top priority
for policymakers and, across party lines, they express strong support for
The survey results were announced today in Springfield by Lynn Quincy, Director of the Healthcare Value Hub. She was joined by State Rep. Will Guzzardi, Senator Andy Manar and advocates from Protect Our Care Illinois. The legislators also unveiled new legislation to tackle some of the issues raised in the poll, including a new state board that would review data on drug prices and set new payment limits for state-regulated plans.
new consumer health survey confirms what we have known for a while: people in
Illinois are being crushed by the cost of health care and prescription drugs
and they are looking to state government to address this huge issue. We have to
do something now to provide relief to Illinois families,” said Rep. Will
Guzzardi, D-Chicago who chairs the House Prescription Drug Affordability and
Accessibility Committee. “When it comes to tackling drug costs, 86 percent of
survey respondents endorsed the creation of Prescription Drug Affordability
Board to examine the evidence and establish acceptable costs for drugs– and I’m committed to bringing that
type of oversight to Illinois.”
findings signal the degree to which the prescription drug industry is failing
to serve the health of patients, while those responsible face zero
consequence,” said Senator Andy Manar, D-48. “It puts the onus on every
legislator to be a part of a solution that delivers serious transparency and
accountability to an industry besieged by profiteering and exploitation of
is designed to elicit respondents’ unbiased views on a wide range of health
system issues, including confidence using the health system, financial burden
and views on fixes that might be needed. The survey used a web panel from
Dynata, January 9 – January 17, 2020, resulting in a demographically balanced
sample of approximately 1,047 adults 18 and older who live in Illinois. More
information about methodology can be found in the report.
current prescription drug pricing system is broken and, as it operates today,
cannot deliver medications that all Illinoisans can afford. Prescription drugs
don’t work if you can’t afford them,” said Logan Charlesworth, Protect Our Care
Illinois coalition manager. “We need to allow Illinoisans to focus on getting
healthy rather than allowing them to dangle on the precipice of health and
financial ruin because they cannot afford their medications.”
key findings include:
- Nearly half (49 percent) of adults who needed health care in the prior 12-months encountered one or more cost-related barriers to getting the care they needed.
- Over half (54 percent) of all survey respondents reported being either “worried” or “very worried” about affording the cost of prescription drugs. More than a quarter of respondents (28 percent) cited cost concerns as the driving factor for not filling a prescription or cutting pills in half.
- Of the adults sampled in the survey, those who live in Greater Illinois (outside of Cook and the Collar Counties) experienced the highest healthcare affordability burden (59 percent) compared to the rest of the state.
- Over one-third (35 percent) of Cook County adults got the care they needed but struggled to pay the resulting medical bill and 12 percent were unable to pay for necessities like food, heat, or housing.
Our Care Illinois calls on the Governor and legislator leaders in the General
Assembly to make health care affordability a priority during this legislative
the reports, visit:
Learn more about the Prescription Drug Affordability Board here.
About Protect Our Care Illinois
Protect Our Care Illinois is a statewide coalition of health care advocates, providers, consumers, and workers, joining together to prevent the repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), prevent disastrous changes to Medicaid, and protect and expand access to quality affordable health care.