Healthcare Protection Act will bring reforms, especially to underserved communities

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to sign into law a ban on step therapy and prior authorization for in-patient mental health care.

SHARE Healthcare Protection Act will bring reforms, especially to underserved communities
Gov. J.B. Pritzker with his arm slightly raised, wearing a suit and blue tie.

The Healthcare Protection Act was a legislative priority for Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

Joshua Lott/Getty Images

As a state senator representing a predominantly Black district, I am acutely aware of the unique challenges our communities face in accessing quality health care. Rooted in systemic inequities and socioeconomic disparities, these barriers leave many without adequate coverage or facing unaffordable medical expenses.

Historical mistrust and stigmas surrounding Black communities further deter many from seeking timely treatment and preventive care. To address these issues, we need a comprehensive, inclusive, community-based approach that dismantles these barriers for Black people and all underserved communities.

The Healthcare Protection Act, expected to be signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker, is precisely designed to tackle these challenges. It prioritizes medical expertise over corporate profit motives, ensuring that insurers adhere to standards of care. By mandating transparency and eliminating deceptive practices, such as unchecked rate increases and “ghost networks,” the law will level the playing field for all residents, particularly those in marginalized communities.

This means ensuring everyone across our state has the opportunity to receive care that is consistent, high quality and backed by a doctor who understands the patient’s needs best — not some stuffy insurance personnel looking to cut corners.

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Additionally, the Healthcare Protection Act addresses mental health disparities by removing barriers to treatment, banning prior authorization for in-patient mental health care and prohibiting step therapy. The law recognizes mental health is a critical issue in all communities, not just the affluent ones, and reflects a commitment to treating it with the urgency it deserves.

The Healthcare Protection Act is more than just a few policy changes — it is a lifeline for communities like mine. Through measures like the Healthcare Protection Act, our state is addressing systemic barriers and disparities that have long plagued underserved and disinvested communities. We are prioritizing access to quality health care, promoting transparency and combating deceptive practices, paving the way for a more equitable health care system where everyone, regardless of their background, socioeconomic status or ZIP code, has the opportunity to lead a healthier life.

State Sen. Willie Preston, Democrat, 16th District

Cicadas beat White Sox

I think people who are enthusiastic about cicadas or other naturally occurring activities like the piping plovers are way better than us sports fans. What has your Chicago sports team done for you lately? Seventeen-year cicadas have certainly provided more for their fans than we White Sox fans have gotten over the same time.

Don Anderson, Oak Park

Remembering downtown thrills

I watched Water Tower Place being built and frequented the deli on the top floor. You could not have missed Joseph’s shoe store. I ran into actress Shelley Winters there. We both shopped for size 10s. I saw Henry Fonda on a hot August afternoon, wearing a sheepskin jacket in the heat, shopping for fuses at Walgreens with his wife. I saw Liza Minnelli strolling in the serene greenery of the avenue.

Don’t forget Ballantine’s, lit by a giant phallic neon sign, and which served a singular dish of chicken croquettes with creamed peas. Stuart Brent began my fascination with all things Saul Bellow to Danny Lyon and his then-iconoclastic photography of America’s prisoners, and Diane Arbus’ photography of eccentrics. Perhaps you and I rubbed shoulders in the stacks.

What blissful memories. It’s hard to shake them.

Brenda Rossini, Winnetka

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