Controversy abounds in Illinois. State legislators have received a significant amount of criticism from the public for their decision to change health insurance providers. The switch has an effect on more than 100,000 state employees and their dependants. Furthermore, lawmakers have been embroiled in a struggle to better define the authority of the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (COFGA) has over the insurance industry. The Senate recently voted to allow COFGA the authority to approve applicable health insurance contracts for state workers.
Senator Dale Righter, a supporter of the bill that expanded COFGA’s power, believes that the Illinois government should play a more prominent role in major health care decisions. This notion has drawn a wave of opposition from both the public and rival party.
Amongst the opponents of the bill is Senator Jeff Schoenberg, a co-chairman of COGFA. Schoenberg urged his colleagues on both sides of the political line to vote against the bill. He asserts that the provisions of the bill could mean potential ruin for the state’s purchasing process. He also claims that it will disrupt the legal discourse that has sprouted out of the Senate’s decision to switch insurance carriers.
“We are injecting ourselves into the middle of a pending court case,” says Schoenberg.
The State’s Department of Healthcare and Family Services is already fielding offers from several health insurance companies. While the legal battle brewing around the healthcare switch will not keep the state from choosing a new carrier, the fate of the measure is yet to be decided in court.