Health 1st Authority worsens individual mandate language

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In their last meeting, the Health 1st Authority announced a change to their draft report in the individual mandate language attempting to accommodate some members who are holding out for the provision. The CT Health Policy Project has published research and analysis challenging the effectiveness of an individual mandate and outlining the impact on stressed low-income state residents, the challenges of enforcement, and the harm to any potential reforms. An individual mandate is a case of blaming the victims and attempts to fund health care reform on the backs of those least able to pay and least responsible for the mess.

The language was changed from:
“While admitting the potential virtues of a mandate in moving the state closer to universal coverage, the Authority did not think that Connecticut was prepared at this time and in this economic climate to accept an individual mandate.”
Bad enough.
But the new language is far worse:
“The Authority recommends that serious consideration, based on analysis of data from other states as well as local conditions, be given to the issue of an individual mandate as the health reform process moves forward in Ct. Any consideration of individual mandate necessitates examination of both affordability and quality/adequacy of coverage and benefit design.”

Reportedly, the Authority did not take a vote on the draft report because they didn’t have the votes to pass. Sources say the votes against are Mickey Herbert (ConnectiCare), Lt. Gov. Fedele, former Rep. Lenny Winkler, and Brian Grissler (Stamford Hospital); Mike Critelli (Pitney Bowes) was leaning against the draft. The sticking points remain the individual mandate and the state employee pooling plan, according to reports. It is not surprising that the insurance industry is pushing for an individual mandate – anyone who sells a product would prefer that all CT residents be legally required to purchase it.
We’ll see what happens at tomorrow’s meeting.
Ellen Andrews