Governor Lamont Presents Comprehensive Package of Health Care Legislative Proposals

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Governor Lamont Presents Comprehensive Package of Health Care Legislative Proposals

Legislative package reduces underlying costs of care and invests more than $72 million to expand access to care and address shortage of health care workers

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that he has introduced a comprehensive package of legislative proposals that, if passed, will improve health outcomes and reduce health care costs for Connecticut families and small businesses.

“Health care is a human right that too many Connecticut residents struggle to afford,” Governor Lamont said. “Last year, our bipartisan budget created Covered Connecticut to provide nearly 40,000 more people with free health care through Access Health CT, which also offers great savings on health care for everyone. While subsidies are helpful, we also need to address the high and rising underlying costs of care. That’s why I’m proposing legislation to make prices more transparent, safely re-import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada, and cap exorbitant prescription drug prices here at home. Three in ten Americans say they are cutting pills in half, skipping doses, or swapping drugs to save money — with the help of the legislature, that’s stopping now.

Initiatives and investments that Governor Lamont is proposing for this session:

  • Reduce prescription drug prices by capping annual manufacturer price increases at a maximum of inflation plus two percent and authorizing the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection to oversee the safe importation of Canadian drugs at lower cost.
  • Encourage life-saving primary and preventative care by setting a primary care spending target, putting contact information for primary care providers and telehealth services at the fingertips of patients on their insurance cards, and asking companies to assurance to adopt health enhancement programs, modeled after the successful program open to state employees, which provide lower premiums and other financial incentives to residents who complete free screenings recommended by the task force American on preventive services.
  • Expanding access to care and addressing the shortage of health care workers by providing price increases for adult dental and family planning services that will expand the network of Medicaid providers, passing two professional licensing pacts interstate organizations that solve red tape for doctors and psychologists, and investing $35 million to increase education and training opportunities for future nurses and mental health care providers, $20 million in financial aid for students pursuing a career degree in nursing or mental health, and $17 million in a student loan forgiveness program for clinicians who work in underserved communities. More than 7,000 qualified applicants were denied admission to Connecticut nursing programs in 2020 due to faculty shortages, lack of student clinical placements, and limited capacity for capstone experiences in specialty areas .
  • To provide more equitable care by improving data collection on race, ethnicity and language so that we can identify, address and monitor racial and ethnic disparities in health care and health outcomes under the public law 21-35.

Connecticut Human Services Commissioner Dr. Deidre S. Gifford said, “Governor Lamont’s health care initiatives for this legislative session will mean real differences in the quality of life for many thousands of Connecticut residents. For our HUSKY Health program — already one of the nation’s leading Medicaid and children’s health insurance services — the Governor is proposing provider pricing enhancements and other enhancements to strengthen our networks and promote better care. even better for the children, families and people we serve. Family planning and dental rate increases in this budget will improve equity and access for HUSKY Health members. Advancing key areas such as telehealth, primary and preventative care, cost transparency, access to care, and equity, among others, will benefit people across the state. I look forward to working with the General Assembly to support the Governor’s recommendations.

Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Andrew N. Mais said, “Governor Lamont’s proposal will help increase the quality and availability of health care for all Connecticut residents as we take the necessary steps to address costs and increase affordability. Access to health enhancement programs and the ability to easily find a primary care practitioner to be your health care home will help consumers stay healthy over the long term by helping to prevent preventable diseases and addressing those that arise as soon as possible.

Connecticut Office of Health Strategy executive director Victoria Veltri said, “The Governor knows that health care is essential for every resident of the state and for businesses in our state. Making health care affordable starts with understanding what drives health care spending. Two years ago, Governor Lamont joined legislative partners and health stakeholders in tasking the Office of Health Strategy with establishing per capita health spending growth targets with the goal of engaging all stakeholders to take action to tie health care spending growth to a reasonable growth rate.He also underscored the critical importance of strengthening the state’s primary care infrastructure by setting a target for primary care spending as a share of all medical expenses. Today, Governor Lamont is proposing to make this work permanent, delivering on our commitment to make health care more affordable by making data available and by targeting areas of action.

Connecticut Workforce Director Dr. Kelli Vallieres said, “Across the country, we are seeing a massive shortage of our healthcare workers, who right now are needed more than ever. Governor Lamont’s legislative proposals address this problem head-on by increasing faculty capacity in our colleges and universities so that Connecticut can train more students to enter these fields, by developing more streamlined pathway programs. so that we can address this shortage as soon as possible and making this education more affordable by providing tuition assistance to students, especially those from the hardest hit communities.

Today’s proposals build on the Lamont administration’s record of supporting affordable, quality health care, including:

  • Established the Covered Connecticut program to provide free care to nearly 40,000 adults over-paying for Medicaid but less than 175% of the federal poverty level, via Access Health CT.
  • Prevent health insurance rate hikes that would have cost consumers an additional $173 million.
  • Co-pay caps for insulin at $25 per month and for insulin-related supplies at $100 per month.
  • The requirement for insurance coverage for mental illnesses and substance use disorders is on par with coverage for physical illnesses.
  • Extend HUSKY benefits to parents living below 160% of the federal poverty level.
  • Extension of HUSKY benefits to eligible new mothers from 60 days to a full year postpartum.
  • To provide state-subsidized benefits, regardless of immigration status, to approximately 2,800 income-eligible pregnant and postpartum women and 1,900 income-eligible children under age 9.
  • Ensure access to care throughout the pandemic by expanding access to telehealth, recognizing out-of-state licenses, extending the opening of a new special enrollment period for Access Health CT and protecting consumers from out-of-pocket costs.
  • Establish health care cost and quality benchmarks.
  • Launched a paid family and medical leave program so workers no longer had to choose between taking care of their health and earning a paycheck.

Governor Lamont’s proposed budget adjustment also allocates more than $100 million in federal relief funds to expand mental health services that will help children and adults cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. .

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