By Rosana G. Ferraro |
Earlier this week we updated you on the status of some of the health care bills at the Capitol, focusing on bills that focused on prescription drug costs and protecting people from federal actions that erode health care coverage – today we’ll wrap up with Part 2 (read Part 1 here).
Quick summary of where the legislative session is at: After the flurry of public hearings and action deadlines in most committees, we have a clearer picture of what bills are still alive in the session – and which bills died in committee. We’re focusing on bills that address some of the Foundation’s ideas for action we discussed before the session began.
First off – the time for action on restoring Medicaid cuts is now – you can check out our action alert with more information here.
Restoring cuts to HUSKY/Medicaid coverage, including providing ongoing funding for the Medicare Savings Program – and protecting against additional cuts to HUSKY programs.
This issue is still brewing, and we’ll remind you again that you have an opportunity to take action on restoring cuts to HUSKY/Medicaid before the Appropriations committee’s action deadline of Thursday, April 5 – read all about that here.
Another bill, Senate Bill 270: An Act Concerning Work and Community Service Requirements for Recipients of Certain Public Assistance Programs, would have put a Medicaid work requirement in place for some people who receive health coverage through the HUSKY/Medicaid program.
- Status: Bill is dead. This bill never made it out of committee.
- We agree with other national and local advocates who point out that:
- Work requirements don’t work (Center on Budget and Policy Priorities)
- Work Requirements are a bad idea (Six reasons why from Families USA) and
- “That this bill is unlikely to increase the workforce, but highly likely to result in reduced access to health services for working parents and their children” (From CT Voices for Children’s testimony on the bill)
- See our testimony here.
Protecting people when their insurer and health care providers are in contract disputes (like Hartford HealthCare and Anthem last year)
House Bill 5383: An Act Concerning Disputes Between Health Carriers and Participating Providers That Are Hospitals addresses this critical issue. The bill requires the insurer and hospitals to stick by their expired contracts for 60 days in the event of a dispute – this is also known as a “cooling off” period.
This means that even if the hospital and insurer don’t have a contract, people would still be paying in-network rates for care for 60 days. This would be an important step in protecting people.
- Status: Bill is alive. The bill was voted out of committee
- You can read our testimony here.
Making sure people have access to quality, affordable coverage
House Bill 5463: An Act Concerning a Medicaid Public Option proposed that the state study and put in place a public option called HUSKY E, based on the state’s Medicaid program and Access Health CT structures. There are not a lot of details in the bill, but the overall concept aims to provide an affordable health care coverage option for Connecticut residents. The study would help to flesh out the idea and see if it would work for Connecticut.
- Status: Bill is alive. It was voted out of committee with changes that:
- Would require the state to study this concept and come back to the legislature with a report by the end of December 2018
- Removed the language to implement the public option by January 2020
- Has the Executive Director of the Office of Health Strategy coordinating the study, and
- Establishes a study group of consumer advocates, health care providers, and state officials
- Read our testimony here.
- Check out our blog on this bill here.
- And here’s a couple articles on the bill:
- After Seven Years of Silence, A Public Option Emerges (CT News Junkie)
- Medicaid Public Option Bill Makes It Out of Committee (CT News Junkie)
That’s our update for now, but stay tuned – the legislative session isn’t over until May 9th. We’ll make sure we keep you up to date on opportunities for action through this blog, social media, and e-blasts.
By the way, you can always call your legislators about any of these bills to let them know what you think. Don’t know who your legislators are? Click here to Find Your Legislators.
You can also join us on April 18th for the Protect Our Care Health Care Action Day at the Capitol! See the details about this event here.