By Rep. Jim Sacia
It’s complicated and time consuming. It’s important to every American. I’m referring, of course, to “ObamaCare,” officially “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (PPACA).
Early this summer, I was appointed to the Legislative Committee on Health Care Exchanges. It has meant, of course, more trips to Springfield and Chicago. The necessity of this committee is very significant, as we hope to make recommendations to the General Assembly in Veto Session in October, or shortly after reconvening in January, on its implementation in Illinois.
As a small business owner who already provides health care to our employees, I’ve welcomed this appointment as an opportunity to learn the “nuts and bolts” of implementation.
I know from personal experience that one year after federal passage of this law, there are far more unknowns than knowns. There isn’t one of you who isn’t aware of significant increases in health care costs this past year. Is that directly related to the unknowns of PPACA? I could make a pretty good argument that this is exactly why.
Our study group is made up of very talented people. We are receiving input from every organization and group from the insurance industry, to the medical profession, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant Refugee Rights, the Illinois Health Care Justice Campaign, plus every available health plan, and business entities of every type, yes, I could go on. The point is — every one of us sucking up air will somehow be affected. It is imperative that we recommend the proper implementation in Illinois.
Here is what we all need to know — PPACA requires everyone to have health insurance, and it provides subsidies for lower-income people to purchase a non-employer-sponsored policy in a government-sanctioned exchange.
There is belief among many that once implemented, there will be a “bailout” of many plans in favor of heavily-subsidized government exchanges. To prevent this bailout, there will be tax credits offered to employers who purchase health insurance through the exchanges.
Are you a little confused? The volumes of information coming to our committee are amazing. Each of us accepts the mandate to fix the system. By early next year, the exchanges should be in place with a navigator system to find what is best for each of us. Can we put it all together? May it still implode? I remain committed and cautiously optimistic.
Jim Sacia (R) is the state representative for the 89th District in Illinois.
From the Oct. 19-25, 2011, issue