Do the Health Care Struggles of Everyday People Matter to Politicians?

By Lynne Ide |

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The 2018 Connecticut General Assembly session opens on February 7.  Will the health care struggles of everyday people be on the radar for action?

Health care costs too much for too many individuals, families and businesses.  Many people with health coverage have trouble paying their bills and maintaining that coverage.  And the high cost of care eats up more and more of our tax dollars.

But when people ask for relief from their elected representatives, too often the response is:  we can’t do anything now.

One can predict the litany of excuses: it’s a short session and an election year; the state budget is a problem; and, let’s wait and see how federal health care actions impact us here in Connecticut.

Meanwhile, everyday people feel the health care pinch:

  • High deductible plans and co-pays that eat away at bank accounts
  • Prescription drug prices that are out of control
  • Getting shut out of care when big insurers and health care systems have contract disputes (like the recent Anthem-Hartford HealthCare stalemate)
  • Having fewer choices for affordable health insurance coverage
  • Worrying about whether HUSKY (Medicaid) programs will be there for vulnerable people and working families that can’t get coverage through their employers

Universal Health Care Foundation is working on many fronts to fight for quality, affordable care for every state resident.

We stand ready to work with state legislators to deliver relief for everyday people.

Here are a few of the ideas we have for action this session:

  • Protecting people from federal actions that erode health care coverage, such as: making sure that people with pre-existing conditions are protected from denial of coverage or paying higher premiums; ensuring that the Essential Health Benefits are preserved, including preventive care and women’s health services; and, maintaining bans on annual and lifetime caps on health insurance coverage.
  • Out-of-Pocket prescription drug cost relief, such as: allowing people to pay their co-pays or deductibles based on the insurer’s lower negotiated price, rather than the retail price; and, setting monthly co-pay limits to protect people from paying the full cost of expensive medications in the beginning of the year until their out-of-pocket caps kick-in.
  • Protecting people when their insurer and health care providers (hospitals and doctors) are in contract disputes, such as: holding patients harmless during the stalemate so they can still get medical treatment without paying higher out-of-network prices; requiring a cooling off period for the parties in dispute with possible binding arbitration if a dispute persists; and, requiring large health systems to negotiate hospital-by-hospital rather than for a conglomerate of hospitals and affiliated doctors.
  • Restoring cuts to HUSKY (Medicaid) coverage and providing ongoing funding for the Medicare Savings Plan – and protecting against additional cuts to HUSKY programs.

These are just a few things Connecticut’s legislators could do this year.  Let’s get started!

Our elected leaders should put the health care needs of their constituents on the front burner for action.  Our health and economic security is at stake.

If you would like to get involved in advocacy efforts on any of these issues – or you have a story to tell about how these issues affect you right now – please contact us at: info@universalhealthct.org

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