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State Democrats unveil plan for a public health insurance option

HARTFORD - Democratic lawmakers are introducing a major healthcare bill in the eleventh hour of the legislative session. With just 8 days to go before recess, Democrats are introducing a new Connecticut option for health insurance.

The bill is making big promises to change the way we pay for healthcare.

“Lower the cost of healthcare, to lower the cost of prescription drugs, and to make a big dent in the worries that are going on all across the state right now as we speak of people who are afraid of getting sick because of the cost of healthcare,” says Representative Sean Scanlon of Guilford.

Democratic lawmakers say the new option will achieve large goals of reducing healthcare by 20% for individuals and small businesses by:

  • bringing in cheaper prescription drugs from Canada;
  • expanding Medicaid for low income adults;
  • controlling premiums and deductibles with subsidies and reinsurance; and
  • creating a commission that looks at the overall cost of healthcare.

“For me this is the type of bill as a small businessman I would embrace,” says Governor Ned Lamont.

Democrats say if the CT option passes as is, it would guarantee a reduction in healthcare costs by 20% by 2022; but Republicans say there are many factors that go into this consideration and that it may not be attainable.

“I think it’s only attainable if everyone is at the table and that means you and I as patients,” says Dr. Bill Petit, a Republican from the 22nd district.

Republican Senate Leader Len Fasano of North Haven is slamming Democrats for not involving the GOP and offering the bill days before the June 5 adjournment.

Other players that aren’t yet on board are insurance companies.  Governor Lamont says he has been working with healthcare stakeholders including insurance companies.

“As of this morning I heard that the pharmaceutical industry in Connecticut is okay with this language,” says Senator Matt Lesser.

Republicans say they weren't even given a seat at the table.

“Not once had the Republicans even known this was going on or a bill of this magnitude was being discussed. We found out from lobbyists last night”, says Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano.

Democrats say they think this bill can pass in the last 8 days of this legislative session. They say it would be implemented in 2022. It would cost $1 million dollars to put everything into place, with no word yet on how much it would cost to run the program after that. One idea to help offset costs is to tax opioid manufactures.

 

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