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The SustiNet task force met yesterday to refine their final recommendations for proposed legislative language to the General Assembly. In an earlier survey of task force and ex-officio members there was agreement that the plan should merge state employees, Medicaid members and municipal employees. However, there was disagreement about including small businesses, nonprofits and the uninsured. Sal Luciano noted that the original intent of SustiNet was universal coverage and it is critical to provide access to an affordable, transparent public option to CT’s uninsured. The group also decided to “encourage” patient-centered medical homes, although Norma Gyle noted how important delivery reform is to the success of SustiNet and the larger health system and suggested substituting the stronger language of providing incentives for medical homes. There was also lengthy discussion about whether to raise HUSKY and Medicaid provider rates to private pay rates or leave them at the current lower rate. It was proposed that rates be raised only after compensating savings can be demonstrated in the program. Cristine Vogel argued that the group needs to make a “bold statement” about raising provider rates. Rates for care provided to poor children should be equal to those for state employees’ children. The group will deliberate further before their recommendations for proposed legislation are finalized. Special thanks should go to Sal Luciano, Norma Gyle (CTHPP Board members) and Cristine Vogel for their thoughtful, principled and consumer-centered comments.
Ellen Andrews