The Illinois Health Benefits Exchange Legislative Study Committee, a panel comprised of senators who have been investigating the possible effects an insurance exchange could have on the state’s insurance market, will be submitted its recommendation on the establishment of an exchange to the Senate by the end of this month. Thus far, the committee has remained tight-lipped regarding its findings, but some light may have been shed on the possible outcome of the committee’s research. According to the Chicago Tribune, the state’s insurance industry has been pouring money into the committee.
The committee is led by Senators Frank Mautino, William Haine, JoAnn Osmond and Bill Brady. To date, the legislators have received a sum of $70,800 in funding from the insurance industry. This funding may go a long way in swaying the recommendations of the study committee. Some fear that the committee will suggest measures that would benefit insurers at the expense of consumers.
The legislators of the study committee assert that their decisions will not be affected by the investments from insurers.
Despite the controversy surrounding the issue, the money being invested into the study committee is a paltry sum when compared to the amounts insurers regularly spend in support of their favored political candidates. According to Kent Redfield, professor of political science at the University of Illinois, the insurance industry usually invests $2 million in campaigns matching their interests.