Your Voice Counts: Busy Week Ahead on State Health Care Legislation

capital3It’s a busy time for health care ideas up at the State Capitol.

There are at least 8 proposed bills that are scheduled for public hearings March 5 – 9 at the Legislative Office Building (LOB) in Hartford.

We know the paid lobbyists will be there in force.  And, too few everyday people will be heard.

Now is a good time for you to weigh in on how these bills affect you.

You do not have to be a policy expert to share your thoughts on these bills.  In fact, all you need to do is state why you do – or do not – support the bill and, if possible, share your own story about why this bill is important to you and how would impact your life.

You can show up to testify in person or submit your testimony in writing.  Click here to go to the Connecticut General Assembly Bulletin and click on “Public Hearings” to find the correct hearing.  Since every committee does things differently, follow the instructions for testifying in person or submitting testimony.  If you want to submit testimony, it is usually due the day before the hearing.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at info@universalhealthct.org.

Here’s a quick overview of the public hearings and bills:

March 5 – Public Health Committee Hearing at 11 am in Room 1-D of the LOB

  • HB 5215: An Act Concerning the Department of Public Health Recommendations regarding revisions to the Office of Health Care Access Statutes – This bill is of interest to advocates who want increased accountability to local communities when hospitals are sold.

March 6 – Insurance & Real Estate Committee Hearing at noon in Room 2-D of the LOB

  • HB 5384: An Act Concerning Prescription Drug Costs – This bill is focused on increasing transparency and accountability to begin to address the high cost of prescription drugs.
  • HB 5383: An Act Concerning Disputes Between Health Carriers and Participating Providers That are Hospitals – This bill is an attempt to provide more protections for people whose insurer and local health care/hospital network are in a contract dispute (such as last fall’s Anthem-Hartford HealthCare dispute).

March 8 – Human Services Hearing at 10 am in Room 2-A of the LOB

  • SB 270: An Act Concerning Work and Community Service Requirements for Recipients of Certain Public Assistance Programs – This bill aims to require that certain people who qualify for Medicaid (HUSKY) health coverage and SNAP (food stamps) must work or perform community service.

March 8 – Insurance & Real Estate Committee Hearing at noon in Room 2-D of the LOB

  • HB 5039: An Act Protecting Health Care Fairness and Affordability – This is Governor Malloy’s bill that aims to do a number of things, including: a state health care insurance mandate, offer “low option” health plans, establish a health care premium assistance fund, and review mandated benefits.
  • HB 5379: An Act Establishing a State Individual Health Care Responsibility Fee and the CT Health Care Savings Program – This is a complicated bill that seems to set up a state health care insurance mandate, institute a penalty for those who do not have coverage, and establish a state health care savings program, and more.
  • SB 373: An Act Concerning the CT Health Insurance Exchange, Low-Option Benefit Design and Short-term Policies – This is another complicated bill that looks as if it will open the door to allow the sale of short-term and other health plans that do not offer all the benefits required by the Affordable Health Care Act, and deals with Access Health CT governance, authority and oversight issues.

March 9 – Appropriations Committee Hearing at 1 pm in Room 2-C of the LOB

  • HB 5326: An Act Concerning Medicaid Funding – This bill sets up a state study to determine whether Medicaid (HUSKY) funding is the most “cost-efficient, equitable and effectives means of funding.”

You can also speak out about these bills on March 14.  Join the Protect Our Care CT Campaign for Health Care Action Day in Hartford!

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