Resource: The Illinois Health Care Justice Act of 2004


Illinois Public Act 093-0973, known as the Health Care Justice Act, was passed by the Illinois legislature and approved by the Governor in August 2004 (Mary Flowers, chief sponsor of HB 942, was one of the House sponsors, and Barack Obama was one of the Senate sponsors (complete list here)).

As a result of the Act, the Adequate Health Care Task Force was established; it held public hearings beginning in October 2005 and completed its report in January 2007 (official information here, along with a link to the final report).

Navigant Consulting was retained to analyze and compare six health care reform proposals that were submitted to the Task Force according to a specified set of 12 criteria (some have sub-headings). These criteria were weighted against the single-payer proposal, because, for instance, a plan got more points if it could be implemented within 3 years (ignoring the fact that Medicare, in the pre-computer age, was completely rolled out in one year, as well as effectively rewarding acting in haste and repenting at leisure); and more points if consumers could have a choice of "health plans and provider networks" (whereas a single-payer system allows choice of providers, rather than choice of networks and plans). The single-payer plan also got a relatively low score on "preserves providers’ clinical autonomy," although in fact it is the only proposal that gives providers the freedom to practice good medicine without interference by insurance companies. Details of the single-payer plan evaluaton are in appendix D-5. This report takes a long time to load!

Not included in the final report: a six-page summary that shows, side by side, all of the health care reform proposals submitted to the Task Force, with the points each proposal received in each evaluation category, and a final line showing the total points for each proposal. You can find all of the information in the final report, but you have to read the analyses separately for each proposal, and maybe even add up the points for each.

To find the side by side "Summary of Preliminary Evaluation Scoring," follow this link (date 8/15/06); then go to III 1-6 (the numbering within the report), starting at page 90/157 (the numbering as my computer counts the pages).

Evaluation result: The single-payer plan got the most points in spite of the incorrect weightings noted above: a total of 85.4 out of 100. The other 4 plans (some of which got extra points for weightings we would not agree with) got 70.0, 75.4, 70.7, 65.3. Finally, a "hybrid" built from all of the plans except single-payer received 76.3 points—still far below the single-payer plan—and was adopted as the recommendation of the Task Force.

Appendix C of the final report is a minority report by those Task Force members who voted for the single-payer proposal (people could vote for more than one). Also available here.

Submitted by Anne Scheetz July 7, 2013

Addendum October 29, 2016:

Two articles about Barak Obama's involvement in the Health Care Justice Act here (2009) and here (2012).


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