OHS committee chooses unrealistic cap for CT healthcare costs

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The Office of Health Strategy’s (OHS) Technical Team choosing the cap for future Connecticut healthcare costs has decided on a 3.1% allowed increase for next year, dropping over time to 2.7% by 2025.

To illustrate the impact of the cost cap, consider the significant variability in Connecticut’s per capita all-payer total healthcare cost increases from 2002 to 2014. Over that time, per capita cost increases averaged 5.3% annually. Cost increases exceeded OHS’s planned cost caps in nine of the thirteen years. Under the cost cap proposal, in those nine years OHS would have entered secret negotiations with high-cost programs and providers to cut costs. The plans would not be made public.

 Advocates and other stakeholders have raised serious concerns about the process, timing and content of OHS’s cost cap project both that it is unlikely to be successful and because the plan risks significant unintended consequences that will harm consumers. Advocates, primary care providers and other stakeholders have offered dozens of better, safer options to improve health outcomes and control costs in Connecticut.

The best news for healthcare costs in Connecticut happened in 2012 when Medicaid moved away from private managed care organizations to a care-management based system that pays directly for care.