Health First and Primary Care Authority Updates

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Last Thursday both Authorities met in separate meetings.
The Health First Authority is collecting information on CT’s spending on health care and Medicaid rates. Urban Institute researchers shared info from a 2003 Health Affairs article showing that CT’s Medicaid rates averaged 83% of Medicare, compared to 69% nationally. MA pays 80%, NY 45% and RI 42%. These rates do not include increases implemented this winter. The Authority then discussed the options they will consider for their report, due in December. Options include a single payer system (required by the statute, they will be taking only written comment on this one), universal primary care only public coverage (the Primary Care Authority is working this one out),and a building block/gap filling approach. The building block approach could include improving Medicaid, new alternatives for the currently insured, an Insurance Partnership plan based on Rep. Donovan’s pooling bill, a Healthy San Francisco-type model, a MA-type Connector plan, and a public gap-filling model run like a self-insured employer plan. Most discussion centered on the building block idea. There was little enthusiasm for any of the options.
The Statewide Primary Care Access Authority met later on Thursday. They had a presentation by OHCA on their preventable hospitalization report. Later they moved on to outlining the structure of their report and the universal primary care system proposal. Suggestions included coverage of prescription drugs, wellness services like Weight Watchers and smoking cessation, specialty care, mental health, and oral health care. They will explore guidelines for FQHCs, pediatrics and adult medicine coverage and build on the list. They discussed loan repayment and removing regulatory barriers to expand the health care workforce. They also discussed creating a standardized process for defining where to place future safety net provider expansions.
Ellen Andrews