Comptroller Kevin Lembo Archive > NewsBROAD STATEWIDE COALITION ANNOUNCES URGENT HEALTH CARE REFORM EFFORTS
A statewide coalition of residents, lawmakers, activists and experts on Thursday announced new efforts to make health care in Connecticut universally affordable, accessible and equitable.
The coalition will support reforms to be introduced in the upcoming legislative session including building on the state employee health plan to provide new health care options for individuals, small businesses and nonprofits and other opportunities to lower health care costs. The comprehensive set of reforms will combat the effects of the ongoing pandemic by increasing access to affordable and high-quality health care and offering new choices for those who lost employment-based coverage or who are trapped in high-deductible plans.
"Expanding access to health care that people can actually use, afford and rely on is the only way to combat the ongoing health care crisis in Connecticut," said Comptroller Kevin Lembo. "We have the ability to leverage the market power of the state health plan to help everyone in the state by growing the economy and protecting the health of our friends and neighbors. I’m grateful to be alongside such a strong and diverse coalition to demand action."
Uninsured rates have increased an estimated 30 percent since the COVID-19 pandemic began and over 100,000 jobs in the state have yet to be recovered. Data shows the adverse health and economic impacts of the pandemic are being felt most acutely in communities of color. In Connecticut, Black and Latino households face higher uninsured rates and worse health outcomes than white households according to AccessHealthCT.
"Affordable health care remains one of the most important issues in our state and I will continue to fight for the best outcomes for everyone in Connecticut,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney. “As health care evolves, our responses need to evolve too. The people of our state spoke clearly on Election Day that they want more policy solutions to achieve affordable and equitable health care including a public option for individuals and small businesses."
“Everywhere I go, I hear from people worried about health care,” House Speaker-designate Matt Ritter said. “The pandemic has directed a spotlight on the health care crisis - especially on the inequity of access. Connecticut residents deserve to have access to quality, affordable care.
“Across Connecticut, candidates across the state ran and won on a platform of delivering real sustainable health reform. Starting with a public option, Connecticut has a real mandate to finally deliver on reform and provide relief to families. I’m eager to pick up the mantle and get back to work,” said State Senator Matt Lesser, co-chair of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee.
"Facing the worst health crisis in a century, gridlock in Washington and the uncertain future of the Affordable Care Act, it's more important than ever for Connecticut to deliver on creating an affordable option for health insurance and I'm confident that this year and with this broad coalition behind us, we will," said State Representative Sean Scanlon, co-chair of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee.
The United States Supreme Court has begun hearing a case that threatens to roll back the coverage and protections guaranteed through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The coalition recognizes that possibility as part of the urgent, ongoing health care crisis and seeks to build on the success of the ACA in Connecticut by codifying its protections, expanding access to care and driving down costs.
“The lack of affordable, quality health care is a problem that has persisted, and particularly affected people of color as well as struggling small businesses, self-employed entrepreneurs, and nonprofits,” said Frances G. Padilla, president of Universal Health Care Foundation. “Our elected leaders must take action as if real people’s lives depend on it- because they do.”
This coalition is demanding more choice for residents, businesses and nonprofits, including public plans that prioritize affordability and access to high quality care. Legislation, to be introduced in the upcoming 2021 legislative session, will rely on data and research to combat the continuing health care crisis and embrace every solution that expands health care access in Connecticut.