Illinois governor candidates: How will you bring down health care, prescription drug costs?

·4 min read

Eight candidates are running for governor of Illinois. We sent questionnaires to each of the candidates on the ballot, asking them to answer questions about pension obligations, state population, escalating costs of health care, how to handle a COVID surge and what small businesses need due to the pandemic. This is the third in a series of five articles revealing their answers to those questions – candidates are listed below alphabetically.

Question 1: What's your plan to improve the pension burden on cities?

Question 2: How would you work to increase the state's population?

Darren Bailey (R)

Darren Bailey
Darren Bailey

Much of what drives the cost of healthcare is what happens in Washington D.C. The one thing we can do at the state level is take a look at eliminating and reforming the number of mandates we have on insurance coverage. We should review these policies and allow companies to offer more affordable, scaled-down healthcare plans to Illinois residents. We can also work to ensure the 340B Drug Pricing Program benefits go to patients rather than corporate interests. These programs offer huge discounts on prescriptions – often even better deals than those offered by insurance companies.

Finally, we need to examine where our healthcare dollars are going carefully, and we need to do a better job of ensuring these benefits are going to the right people. Unfortunately, there is a lot of fraud happening, which is detrimental to taxpayers and especially detrimental to the people who need state assistance for healthcare. If we can eliminate fraud, we can better target and help alleviate costs for taxpayers and those in need.

Richard C. Irvin (R)

Richard Irvin
Richard Irvin

"I support initiatives to expand healthcare access and lower costs. During the pandemic, we saw a massive acceleration in telemedicine and at-home testing. We must look for ways to modernize our healthcare system, which will give people more options and drive down costs. We need to identify where state regulations may be stifling innovation and work with the General Assembly to cut the red tape. The state should absolutely use its market buying power to negotiate lower costs for prescription drugs in Medicaid and state employee group health. While state governments have limited ability to impact national and global drug pricing, I would join with other governors in urging the Securities and Exchange Commission to take a closer look at so-called 'pay-for-delay' agreements between brand-name and generic drug manufacturers where pharmaceutical companies pay generic manufacturers not to market generic drugs past the expiration of a drug’s patent."

Beverly Miles (D)

Beverly Miles
Beverly Miles

"I am in full support of Medicare for all. Medicare for all will provide comprehensive benefits to every person in the United States. This includes primary care, vision, dental, prescription drugs, mental health, substance abuse, long-term services and supports, reproductive health care, medication, etc."

JB Pritzker (D)

JB Pritzker
JB Pritzker

"I believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege. As Governor, I’ve fought to expand access to healthcare, improve the standard of care available, and make healthcare more affordable for all Illinoisans. I’ve expanded insurance coverage to hundreds of thousands of people since I took office, and I fought for passage of a law that lowered the cost of insulin for the more than 1.3 million people in Illinois. Further, I was proud to sign legislation lowering the cost of prescription drugs and increasing transparency around prescription drug pricing. Now, pharmacies are required to provide customers with the retail price of a prescription drug prior to purchase, and we’re limiting the total monthly out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs. I plan to continue taking steps to make healthcare accessible and affordable for all Illinoisans."

Gary Rabine (R)

Did not respond to repeated requests to fill out questionnaire.

Paul Schimpf (R)

Did not respond to repeated requests to fill out questionnaire.

Max Solomon (R)

Did not respond to this question.

Jesse Sullivan (R)

Jesse Sullivan
Jesse Sullivan

"Illinois families deserve great care at affordable prices. Rising healthcare costs are putting major pressure on family budgets. Fixing this requires leaders who put families first rather than their own checkbooks. Instead of more government intervention, we need more personal freedom in healthcare decisions to reduce costs.

"Healthcare workers have labored tirelessly over the past few years. Now they are being faced with mandates that put the government between them and their patients. We should be thanking these frontline workers, not punishing them. I will end these vaccine mandates.

"We also need to make it easier for highly qualified healthcare professionals to come to Illinois. As governor, I would sign a law to join the interstate Nurse Licensure Compact, welcoming nurses from 34 other states to serve Illinois patients. This commonsense change would go a long way toward eliminating our nursing shortage at no additional cost to taxpayers."

This article originally appeared on Journal Star: Illinois governor candidates: How will you lower health care costs?