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Pritzker wants state health care marketplace to have ‘public option’

Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker. | Rich Hein / Sun-Times

With Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act continuing in Washington, Democratic gubernatorial candidate J.B. Pritzker said Monday he would propose a so-called “public option” health care plan for Illinois residents.

Pritzker said his plan would add the public option to Illinois’ existing online medical marketplace that was set up through the ACA, also known as Obamacare; it would allow Illinois residents to buy coverage through the state’s public medical assistance program.

Health care was just one of the issues on which Pritzker, making a campaign stop across the river from Trump International Hotel & Tower, sought to hang President Donald Trump around the neck of Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Unlike the Republican Rauner, Pritzker said, his administration would make Illinois a firewall against Trump’s agenda.

Pritzker, joined by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), said he would fight against Trump’s agenda not only on health care, but also on abortion, education and immigration.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate JB Pritzker delivered a speech at a site along the Chicago River that put the Trump International Hotel<br>Tower in the background; Pritzker tried to tie President Donald Trump to incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner o
Democratic gubernatorial candidate JB Pritzker delivered a speech at a site along the Chicago River that put the Trump International Hotel
Tower in the background; Pritzker tried to tie President Donald Trump to incumbent Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner on a variety of issues. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

He also said he would sign H.B. 40 to protect women’s health care access and right to choose. That bill would repeal a so-called “trigger” in Illinois law; it would make abortion illegal in Illinois should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn its landmark Roe v. Wade abortion ruling. Rauner has said he would veto it.

On education and immigration, Pritzker promised to oppose school vouchers and charter school expansion and said he — unlike Rauner — wouldn’t stay silent in response to what he called Trump’s racist rhetoric and policies that terrorize families.

He also promised that he would make sure Illinois upholds the provisions of the Paris climate agreement.