OLR reports on major issues for 2011

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The Office of Legislative Research’s annual list of issues likely to be addressed in the coming session includes:
· Considering alternatives to HMOs for the troubled HUSKY, including statewide PCCM
· Reconsidering last year’s budget requirement that HUSKY move from the current capitated HMO-based model to a self-insured ASO model, as is common to most large insurance groups
· Cuts to eligibility and/or benefits in DSS programs, but higher caseloads due to the economy will require more funding
· Creation of a state health insurance exchange
· Health insurance premium rate review – directing the use of federal funds to the insurance dept. to improve capacity for reviews and requiring public hearings on excessive rate increase requests
· Requirements that employers provide workers with paid sick leave
· Possible implementation of the SustiNet plan and the recommendations of its taskforces and committees

What the report does not include is any mention of re-balancing long term care spending (LTC). At 53% of all Medicaid spending, CT is second in the nation in the proportion of Medicaid spending that goes to LTC. CT’s is 12th highest among states in the share of our LTC that is spent on nursing homes. Advocates have long called for re-balancing our LTC spending, making community-based care options more available – letting seniors stay in their homes and saving the state money.

For 15 other ways to save money in CT’s health care budget without harm, and in most cases improving quality and access to care, visit our brief and paper. There are many alternatives for thoughtful, sensible and responsible budget reforms in CT. Let’s hope the new administration is open to new ideas and new voices.
Ellen Andrews