Reflections – Eric Knowles

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Since becoming a summer intern at the CT Health Policy Project, I’ve earned a greater appreciation and understanding for the difficulties and obstacles of creating effective policy change. Just last week, I attended a monthly Board of Directors meeting for the implementation of SustiNet, a law passed in 2009 that would provide nearly universal health insurance coverage to the residents of Connecticut. I had never attended a meeting of this magnitude, but quickly became aware of the different issues, players, and restrictions that affected SustiNet. The main concerns for the Board were the effects of national health care reform on their future recommendations, while also looking at what populations would be covered and possible economic impacts of SustiNet over the next decade. Many of the Board members disagreed with each other over the validity of the statistics being presented, how each population would impact SustiNet financially, and, in a somewhat heated exchange, how and when to go public with their plan. An underlying factor impacting the Board was the upcoming election that would bring in a new governor and administration, while most likely altering the composition of the Board as well. These divisive issues, opposing points of view, and constant moving parts in the political world make it very hard to get true consensus that will create lasting, effective health policy change.
Eric Knowles
CTHPP Summer Intern