SustiNet Board meeting

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Yesterday’s SustiNet Board meeting focused on federal health reforms and how SustiNet fits in. The Board heard from Stan Dorn at the Urban Institute and Sarah Dash from Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro’s office. Both gave excellent descriptions of the House and Senate bills, where CT stands in both scenarios, and the major items still being negotiated. Areas still being worked out include financing (excise tax on premiums vs. raising the income tax on high earners), affordability subsidies, how consumer protections will be enforced, and increasing Medicaid primary care payment rates. CT and other states that have been more generous in Medicaid eligibility and where health care is more expensive are disadvantaged under either bill; while there may be some moderation of that inequality, it is unlikely to be completely fixed. On the other hand, either bill provides CT with more resources that were envisioned when SustiNet passed. It was noted that neither the House nor Senate bill is universal; under either, millions of Americans and thousands of CT residents, are likely to remain uninsured. With an individual mandate (which also seems inevitable), it is critical that CT residents have an affordable, comprehensive option such as SustiNet.
The SustiNet Board is charged with developing a set of recommendations for the General Assembly to integrate SustiNet into national reforms within 60 days of passage of a federal bill. The Board set up a small group of voting SustiNet Board members and Deputy Comm. Vogel, the Governor’s point person on federal health care reform, to develop those recommendations that will then be sent to the legislature for review.
Ellen Andrews