March 5, 2020

Senator Abrams Testifies In Support Of The Connecticut Plan

HARTFORD, CT – Today, State Senator Mary Daugherty Abrams (D-Meriden, Middlefield, Rockfall, Middletown, Cheshire) testified at the Insurance & Real Estate Committee’s public hearing in support of legislation creating a public option for health insurance for Connecticut residents, working families and small businesses. Sen. Abrams also joined Insurance and Real Estate Committee Co-Chairs state Senator Matt Lesser (D-Middletown) and state Representative Sean Scanlon (D-Guilford) along with State Comptroller Kevin Lembo this morning as they announced the legislation.

“Affordable quality health care is one of the concerns I hear most about in the district, and I am glad that it is being addressed in the Insurance Committee today. Health care is a right not a privilege—everyone is entitled to quality health care regardless of their employment status. The Connecticut Plan would increase access to the health care we all deserve by giving more citizens the opportunity to participate in an affordable and quality insurance option. This legislation is good for small businesses, nonprofits, entrepreneurs, employers, and employees alike,” said Sen. Abrams. “No one should be denied care or financially ruined when faced with a healthcare crisis. That is why I am committed to improving our healthcare system in Connecticut, and why I support the Connecticut plan.”

“The rising cost of health insurance is killing the budgets of families and companies across our state and people are rightly looking to us for solutions,” said Rep. Scanlon. “The Connecticut Plan will give individuals, non-profits and small businesses the option of the kind of quality and affordable health care plan they desperately need.”

“How much longer can we explain to the rest of Connecticut that we, as elected officials, are okay with enjoying our highest-quality health care, but unwilling to even allow them – small businesses, nonprofits and workers – to buy in to that same coverage or otherwise ensure quality affordable choices?” Comptroller Kevin Lembo said. “I will testify, advocate for and demand as many times as I must that we finally make things right by Connecticut workers and businesses. They deserve the same opportunities that we have to buy in to high-quality affordable health care.”

Senate Bill 346, An Act Concerning Public Options for Health Care in Connecticut,” will give Connecticut residents an affordable, quality health insurance choice. This choice will encourage healthy competition in the marketplace, leading to better prices and support for Connecticut consumers. Small businesses will no longer have to choose between their bottom line and offering their hard-working employees health insurance. A public option for health insurance is good for business, working families’ pocketbooks and the health of those in our state.

About Public Option Legislation: Per bill language, SB 346, An Act Concerning Public Options for Health Care in Connecticut,” will accomplish the following.

  • Establish the ConnectHealth Program, the ConnectHealth Trust Account and the ConnectHealth Advisory Board.
  • Require the Comptroller, in consultation with the ConnectHealth Advisory Board and the Office of Health Strategy, to establish the ConnectHealth Plan.
  • Authorize the Comptroller to offer coverage to plan participants and beneficiaries in this state under a multiemployer plan, nonprofit employers and their employees, and small employers and their employees.
  • Require the Commissioner of Social Services to seek to amend the federal waiver for the state-wide dental plan that provides for the administration of the dental services portion of the department’s medical assistance to expand coverage to include additional individuals in this state.

The high cost of health insurance has burdened Connecticut working families and small businesses for far too long. Premiums continue to rise, and deductibles have priced individuals out of receiving care, even if they have health insurance. Connecticut needs relief and the Connecticut Plan will provide a welcome option for families struggling with health care costs.

Last year, Sen. Lesser and Rep. Scanlon led the charge on similar legislation. Other states have attempted similar measures to bring down the high cost of care. Washington state passed a public option last year, and Virginia and Colorado have introduced public option bills, according to National Public Radio.