By Lynne Ide
Last week the state Senate voted 30-5 to pass a bill that takes a huge step to reign in runaway health care costs and protect patients.
Senate Bill 811 is an “omnibus” bill that pulls together a number of reforms. It is the first bill in over five years that has a major focus on systems change in health care.
Some key features of the bill include: (the full bill is over 90 pages long)
- Consumer-friendly ways for people to get information on health care prices and quality
- Protections for patients against surprise bills, unfair billing practices and facility fees for outpatient services
- Charges the state’s Health Care Cabinet to study rising health care costs and set statewide health care cost growth goals
- More oversight of hospital and medical group sales, affiliations or ownership transfers
- Establishes a statewide health information exchange
The bill is a bipartisan effort by Senate President Martin Looney (D) and Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R) as a result of their work on the Bipartisan Roundtable on Hospitals and Health Care. The Roundtable was convened because legislators heard numerous complaints from everyday people about surprise billing, facility fees, lack of transparency and accountability, poor treatment – and more.
Connecticut is behind other states in protecting its residents from profit-driven practices that escalate the cost of care and do little or nothing to improve the quality of care. Senate Bill 811 offers our state a window of opportunity to get a handle on a system spinning out of control.
The House must act on this bill by June 3. Please contact your state representative today and ask him/her to get the job done. Find out how to contact your state representative here.
Please take action today. Your effort could make a real difference for your families, friends and neighbors.