Health First Authority update

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The Authority is winding down, but there is still no draft of the plan. At Monday’s meeting, members got a list of bullet points that caused serious contention. There were many complaints about disorganization and not having a draft to review. Part of the problem is that they are not on the same page about the meaning of some of the bullets. But there are also substantive differences. Creation of a new agency, the CT Health Trust, to coordinate all state health care purchasing, implement national health reforms, monitor progress, ensure transparency, advance change, work to eliminate disparities and ensure everyone has access to quality affordable health care by 2012 caused the most disagreement. Members worried that creating a new “mega-agency” will not solve anything and asked why current agencies are not performing these functions. Plans to build on last year’s state-employee purchasing pool bill also created conflict. They decided to table discussion of the really difficult recommendations – whether to have an individual and/or employer mandate. Overall, the meeting was very contentious with interested stakeholders raising predictable objections and concerns. The facilitator kept trying to take the conversation to a higher level, without much success. There will be another Authority meeting on the 17th; a draft for review has been promised by Friday. I am so sorry I will miss it.
Ellen Andrews