State health insurance exchange scuttled in Illinois

The Quad-City Times reports:

“An 11th-hour bid to establish a state-based health insurance exchange fell short Wednesday when the Illinois House adjourned for the remainder of the year without bringing the matter for a vote.

Against the backdrop of a federal deadline to take action and the looming end of single-party control of state government, the sponsor of the measure said she couldn’t round up enough votes to get the measure to outgoing Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn’s desk.

“We ran out of time to get the support we needed for the bill,” said state Rep. Robyn Gabel.

She did not elaborate on why Democratic lawmakers would not support a key part of the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s tenure as chief executive.

Gabel, D-Evanston, had urged her colleagues to support the state-based marketplace, saying an estimated 160,000 Illinoisans could lose their health insurance tax credits if the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the Affordable Care Act does not allow subsidies in states that do not have their own exchanges.

She also said approval now would have put the state in line for $270 million in federal funding to help finance the exchange.

“That pot of money won’t be available in the future,” she told reporters.

The measure earlier won approval in the Senate but never found traction in the House. Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, brought the session to an end Wednesday afternoon.

A new General Assembly starts in mid-January after newly elected Republican Bruce Rauner takes over for Quinn as governor.

Gabel said a new General Assembly could take up the issue next year.

“We’ll be watching carefully to see what the Supreme Court decision is in June, and we’ll move forward from there,” Gabel said.

The legislation is Senate Bill 636.”