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At their last meeting, by an eight to two vote, the Health First Authority approved their final report to the legislature. However it may not be their last meeting and it may not be the final report. The report was described as defining a broad strategy rather than detailed plans. As cost estimates for the Authority’s recommendations were not ready, they will reconvene when those numbers are ready and may add a supplement to the report. The Lt. Governor was concerned that approving the report without those numbers could “raise false hope that we could afford all those recommendations.” Members can also add supplemental comments that will also be attached to the report. The insurance industry representative argued for an individual mandate to be included in the report. Several members raised concerns about recommendations for “pooling” in the bill; that in CT’s health policy context those references will be read as an endorsement of proposals for opening the state employee pool. The Chairs emphasized that pooling refers to the broad strategy and not any specific bill. Pooling has been widely endorsed and has precedents in CT including the Charter Oak Plan and CBIA’s small business pool. One observer commended the group for moving from an insurance/coverage focus to a focus on health. The two no votes were from the Lt. Governor and Brian Grissler of Stamford Hospital.
Ellen Andrews