EVENT: Tuesday, May 30 – Join us to say NO to HUSKY Cuts!

Join with people receiving health care through HUSKY (Medicaid) and other Medicaid advocates to oppose cuts in income eligibility levels for parents in the HUSKY program.

The General Assembly will most likely be in session so this will also be an opportunity to talk to your state Representatives and Senators.

Planning to attend?  Let us know at info@universalhealthct.org

Learn more:

You can read our blog on this subject: Say “No” to Taking Health Care from Low Income Parents!

See Fact Sheets on Proposed Cuts to HUSKY/Medicaid

See Connecticut Health Foundation’s Brief: Impact of Reducing Eligibility for HUSKY Parents from 155% of FPL to 138% of FPL

See Connecticut Voices for Children’s Fact Sheet: Governor’s Cuts Multiply the Burdens on Low-Income Families

THANK YOU for standing up to protect the care of all Connecticut residents!

Sign up for health care action alerts and news at Protect Our Care CT

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Trump Budget Means a Triple Whammy for Connecticut’s Medicaid Program 

By Jill Zorn 

Photo courtesy Oregon Senator Ron Wyden via Twitter (@RonWyden)

Donald Trump’s budget, “A New Foundation for American Greatness” is just the latest in a string of attacks against Connecticut’s Medicaid program.

First, is the proposed state budget cut that would lead to 9,500 HUSKY A parents, with incomes between 138% and 155% of the federal poverty level, losing their Medicaid coverage.  Read our recent blog, Say “No” to Taking Health Care from Low Income Parents, to learn more.

Second is the huge threat posed by the (Un)American Health Care Act (AHCA), the bill passed by the US House now awaiting action in the Senate.  The AHCA would cut over $800 billion from Medicaid nationally over the next ten years.  Estimates are that this would mean a hit to Connecticut’s budget of over $500 million and loss of Medicaid coverage for over 180,000 residents.

An update of those estimates is expected soon, when a revised “score” from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is released on Wednesday.

Medicaid faces yet a third threat, now that Donald Trump’s 2018 budget had been released.  CT Mirror reports that the budget would “cut Medicaid funding to Connecticut and eliminate other programs state residents rely upon to make ends meet.”

Nationwide cuts of $610 billion proposed in the Trump budget, on top of the cuts proposed in the AHCA, would mean a staggering $1.4 trillion cut to Medicaid over 10 years.

This budget, which should be renamed “A New Threat to American Greatness,”  would chop the federal Medicaid budget roughly in half, during a time when health care costs are going up, not down.  It would mean even more people would lose Medicaid coverage in Connecticut and across the country.

We must push back against this triple whammy of Medicaid cuts.  While keeping an eye on all three, it is important to start first with the most immediate threat, the cut to HUSKY A parents.

If you haven’t already done so, please call your state Senator and Representative today and tell them NO to HUSKY cuts!

To find your state Senator and Representative, go to Find Your Legislators.

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Take Action to Protect Women’s Health in CT

With health care under attack from Washington, DC, Connecticut leaders and lawmakers must push back against federal changes that would compromise Connecticut residents’ health.

One way Connecticut lawmakers can preserve the gains in women’s health under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is to put similar protections into state law, so that no matter what happens in DC, women in Connecticut are protected.

Senate Bill 586 does exactly this.  It makes sure that:

  • Women in the state have access to effective contraception without co-payments.
  • Ensures that insurance plans in Connecticut cover:
    • Male and female sterilization
    • Reproductive health screenings and counseling, which includes:
      • Smoking cessation
      • Domestic violence screenings
      • Well woman visits
      • Breast cancer risk assessments
      • STD screening and counseling
      • Screenings for Hepatitis B
      • Screenings for osteoporosis
    • Screenings for pregnant women for
      • Gestational diabetes
      • Urinary tract infections
    • Breastfeeding support and supplies
  • More info on this bill on this fact sheet

Why is this important?

  • This is a women’s health issue. Birth control is part of basic preventive health care for women, and is used not only for family planning, but to treat other women’s health concerns, such as endometriosis and menstruation related issues.
  • This is a child’s health issue. Some of these benefits are critical for women to have healthy babies.  As a state, ensuring the health of our children is important to the future of Connecticut.
  • This is an affordability issue. Nationally, women saved more than $1.4 billion in out-of-pocket costs on birth control pills since the benefit was instituted under the ACA.

The Foundation testified in support of Senate Bill 586:

  • “Removing the financial barrier to no-cost prescription contraception has numerous benefits, including helping women access the contraception that works for them – and affordability is a critical part of accessing health care. This bill allows women and their partners to better plan having a family, at a time that is right for them, regardless of their financial situation.  This bill ensures that women can invest in their own educational and professional opportunities before tackling the responsibilities of parenthood – and so putting themselves in a better situation to raise healthy children.”
  • Read our complete testimony here.

Call your state legislators and tell them you support Senate Bill 586 and they should too!

To find your state Senator and Representative, go to Find Your Legislators.

If you do call your legislator, let us know!  Email us at info [at] universalhealthct [dot] org!

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Say “No” to Taking Health Care from Low Income Parents!

how-to-say-no

The state budget crisis has put HUSKY A parents’ health insurance coverage on the chopping block again.  HUSKY A is the state’s Medicaid program that provides health care coverage for low-income parents and their children.

If this all sounds familiar, it’s because in 2015 over 10,000 HUSKY parents were cut, and we stopped even more cuts last year.

This will impact 9,500 parents with incomes between 138% to 155% of the federal poverty level.

  • That means that a family of three who makes over $2,350 a month will lose coverage.

For many of these families, buying private coverage Access Health CT (the state exchange) will be out of reach, even with subsidies.

Even worse, there are other proposed cuts to HUSKY programs.

At a time when HUSKY/Medicaid programs are under threat from Washington, DC, we can’t allow the state’s budget crisis to harm families even more.

Call your state legislators and tell them NO to HUSKY Cuts!

To find your state Senator and Representative, go to Find Your Legislators.

It is important that we all speak up and tell our policymakers that we won’t tolerate cuts to anyone’s health care, not from DC or Hartford.

Learn more about the issue with these two fact sheets.

Thank you for standing up to protect the care of all Connecticut residents.

 

 

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Will the Senate Save Us?  Don’t Count on It! 

life preserverBy Jill Zorn

The House passed the (Un) American Health Care Act (AHCA).  Now it’s up to the Senate to craft their version of the bill.  Can we count on senators to save us?

Is There Hope?

The Senate is not likely to produce a bill quite as terrible as the House bill.

Several influential Republican senators are already on the record objecting to the attacks on pre-existing conditions, the draconian Medicaid cuts and defunding of Planned Parenthood.  Concerns have also been expressed that the tax credits in the House bill do not sufficiently subsidize care for people who are older, have lower incomes, live in high health care cost areas, or are sick.

Other senators may not feel that AHCA, as awful as it is, went far enough in dismantling the Affordable Care Act. For example, some of them are unhappy that the bill funds ANY tax credits, as paltry as they are.

If you’re trying to read the tea leaves by learning more about the range of divergent opinions among senators, check out the Hill article on five senators to watch or the Vox article on ten senators to watch.

It’s clear that the Senate also faces the same challenge that stopped the House from passing the first version of the AHCA in March.  If you try to keep moderates on board by making fewer drastic cuts to current health care coverage, conservatives may not support the bill.  But if you make the bill as cruel as possible to satisfy conservatives, moderates may not vote for it.

The Ugly Truth  

While the Senate version of the AHCA may not be as bad as the House bill, let’s face it – that is a very low bar.  Even a somewhat watered down version of the bill is still going to do a lot of damage.

It will still be a bill that cuts health care funding in order to give a huge tax break to the wealthy.  Structural changes to Medicaid, such as block grants or per capita caps, are still very much on the table in the Senate and pose a huge risk.  They will change the Medicaid program forever and leave states more on their own to care for low income families, elderly residents in nursing homes and disabled populations. In the end, millions of people are likely to lose their insurance coverage.

Here is the chilling fact:  our fate is in the hands of Mitch McConnell and 12 other male senators.  Hailing mainly from red states in the south and the west, this group, with no gender or racial diversity, does not inspire confidence that they have our best interests in mind.  They are already busy drafting the new version of the AHCA, with the aim of passing by July 4.

The Senate moderates who are most on the record against some of the worst AHCA provisions are conspicuously absent from this working group. This may be an indication of how little political clout they have, and how much it is assumed that, in the end, they will buckle under to pressure from Senate leadership. The moderates in the House turned out to be a “cheap date,” as Michael Miller of Community Catalyst recently pointed out.  It’s not clear that Senate moderates will prove any different.

The Senate only needs 51 votes (50 senators, plus Vice President Pence) to pass the AHCA through the budget reconciliation process, which avoids  the 60 votes usually needed in the Senate to overcome a filibuster.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell knows how to count votes and he knows how to keep his caucus together despite their differences, and get bills passed.  He is on the record promising to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.  Like his House counterparts, he won’t be above telling lies to sell the bill to the public.

On Monday, McConnell was cautious but clear about his intentions:  “This process will not be quick or simple or easy, but it must be done.”

Take Action 

We can’t sit back and hope that the Senate will save us.  We must fight as hard as we can to stop them from passing the AHCA.  And we also must start forging a new way forward.

Now is the time to contact Senators Blumenthal and Murphy.  Let them know we have their back.  Share your health care story.  Ask them to do what they can to stop AHCA in its tracks.  Ask them to fight any bill that increases the number of uninsured, undermines consumer protections and cuts or makes fundamental changes to the Medicaid program.

Senator Richard Blumenthal
CT Offices: (860) 258-6940 (Hartford) & (203) 330-0598 (Bridgeport)
DC Office: (202) 224-2823
Website (for email): blumenthal.senate.gov

Senator Chris Murphy
CT Office: (860) 549-8463 (Hartford)
DC Office: (202) 224-4041
Website (for email): murphy.senate.gov

If you’re interested in defending health care and in being part of the solution, sign up for Protect Our Care CT.  Join with other individuals and groups in Connecticut to fight back AND move forward toward a positive vision of health care for all.

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Today’s Vote to Dismantle the ACA and Replace It with Hollow Promises Fails Millions of People

Today’s vote in the House of Representatives to dismantle the Affordable Care Act sets the stage for massive disruption for hundreds of thousands of Connecticut families.

The bill they passed, the American Health Care Act:

  • abandons Americans with pre-existing conditions,
  • slashes Medicaid,
  • attacks women’s access to reproductive health care,
  • and raises health care costs for all families.

All this to give over $600 billion in tax breaks to the very wealthy and big insurance and drug companies.

The bill now moves to the Senate.

We will continue to fight for all Connecticut residents to have access to quality, affordable health care.

We want to thank our state’s five U.S. House members – Representatives Rosa DeLauro, Joe Courtney, Jim Himes, John Larson, and Elizabeth Esty – for standing up against this horrendous bill.

For more on this vote, read news here.

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Take Action Today! #CHW

call2action

You can take action today to help bring health care closer to the people it serves!

See below for an action alert from Health Equity Solutions concerning a bill in the state legislature about community health workers.

Community health workers (CHWs) are health care professionals who work with patients outside the doctor’s office. CHWs fill a wide range of roles, with one unified mission – to ensure that people have the supports they need to lead healthier lives. CHWs educate diabetes patients on diets that can help them stay healthy, ensure that people take their medications, coordinate care for those with chronic or complex conditions, are part of the communities they serve, speak to people in their own language, understand the culture of their patients, and so much more.

Learn more about community health workers:

Thank you for taking action today!

HES logo.png

Dear Health Equity Supporters,

We just received news that SB 126, An Act Concerning Community Health Workers (CHWs), could see action in the Senate as early as Wednesday May 3rd!

SB 126, if amended and passed, creates a statutory definition of community health workers and requires the Director of the State Innovation Model (SIM), in collaboration with the Department of Public Health, to examine the feasibility of certification in Connecticut. These are important steps toward full recognition of community health workers in our state and there is no new cost to the state!

We need your help:

Call your CT State Senator and Representative today in support of Community Health Workers! 

Quick Message Script to Your Legislators: Pass Senate Bill 126

Hi, my name is [insert name] and I am calling to ask you to support Senate Bill 126. SB 126 is an important step in advancing health equity by defining community health workers and examining how certification of CHWs would work in CT. The bill does not require any new spending in our state.

Not sure who to call or who your state Senator and Representative are? Use this Find Your Legislator tool to look up their name and then use the numbers below to make the call.

Senate Democrats: 860-240-8600 

Senate Republicans: 860-240-8800 

House Democrats: 860-240-8500 

House Republicans: 860-240-8700

Call Your State Senator and Representative, ask them to support Senate Bill 126!

Send HES any feedback you hear from your legislators by emailing us at info@hesct.org

Sincerely,

Tekisha Dwan Everette, PhD

Executive Director 

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