Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut (UHCF) was one of the funders that supported the Connecticut Health Care Survey, to learn more about the health care concerns faced by the residents of our state. Several of the funders also supported the production of policy briefs that focus in on specific information gathered by the survey, information that can be used to inform health policy development in Connecticut.
UHCF engaged the research team at Community Alliance for Research and Engagement (CARE) at the Yale School of Public Health, to write the policy brief, Access to Coverage and Care: Targeting Implementation of the Affordable Care Act to Improve Health in Connecticut. The brief gives an important baseline for what access to coverage and care looked like in Connecticut prior to full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and makes policy recommendations for targeting implementation efforts.
One of the authors of the brief, Director of CARE and Yale professor Jeannette Ickovics, was a featured panelist on a WNPR Health Equity Forum “How Healthy is Connecticut” that was taped on Wednesday, May 21 and is airing for the first time on Tuesday, May 27 on John Dankosky’s Where We Live radio show.
In her remarks on the show, Dr. Ickovics pointed out that, while access to coverage is improving under the ACA, cost remains a barrier to accessing care. As highlighted in the policy brief, cost is the primary reason that both those with insurance and those who are uninsured delay seeking needed care or do not get it at all.
Another important finding in the brief is the wide variation in health status that exists in Connecticut. Twenty percent of people living in the three large cities of Bridgeport, Hartford and New Haven, report that they have either fair or poor health. In contrast, only 8 percent of people living in wealthy suburbs report that they are in fair or poor health. As Dr. Ickovics stated on the Where We Live panel, the ACA is an important step for addressing these disparities, with its emphasis on preventive care and health screening. But to truly move the needle on health status, we need to put an even greater emphasis on primary prevention efforts, to stop the development of often preventable conditions like hypertension and Type II diabetes.
Our recent blog on the importance of enrolling “young invincibles” into coverage is based on a key finding raised in the policy brief. In the next few weeks, we will roll out a series of blogs that highlight other issues raised in the brief.