Future of CT health care: Kelly’s focus on lowering insurance costs, state-based affordable plan

Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano (R-North Haven) and Senator Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford), co-chair of the General Assembly’s Insurance Committee, are calling on state leaders to take action in light of a recent federal judge’s ruling in Texas regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and increasing premiums on health insurance plans here in Connecticut.

The lawmakers are seeking to form a bipartisan committee to mitigate high premiums in the current exchange system and develop state-based policies to make health care accessible and affordable across the state should federal challenges to the ACA be upheld.

Fasano and Kelly wrote to Governor-Elect Ned Lamont asking for his support and leadership in establishing the bipartisan committee. The lawmakers also recommended a group of legislators, state officials, advocates and other stakeholders to be appointed to the proposed committee.

“We are writing to you today to ask that you join us in establishing a bipartisan committee to examine the Affordable Care Act in light of rising premiums here at home and the recent ruling by the Texas court,” the lawmakers’ letter to Lamont states.

“Just as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have worked together in Connecticut to codify many protections offered by the ACA in state law,” stated the lawmakers, “we need to come together again to take a proactive approach to a) address the growing costs of insurance plans under the current system and b) make sure our state has policies in place that can provide affordable health care in Connecticut irrespective of what happens in Washington regarding the Texas ruling.”

The pair stated that state leaders need to come together to find ways to reduce health care costs so more people can afford health insurance and access care.

“We also have to be proactive and ready a state-based plan should the Texas ruling be upheld and should Congress fail to quickly adopt new, appropriate policies,” further stated the lawmakers.

Fasano and Kelly also asked Lamont to set an example for other politicians in the state who have used the Texas court ruling on the ACA to fuel divisive rhetoric, ignoring the state’s bipartisan legislation that protects many desirable elements of the Affordable Care Act such as coverage for preexisting conditions and allowing young adults younger than 26 to remain on their parents’ insurance plans.

“Either these politicians have forgotten what we have accomplished together in Connecticut, or they are purposefully ignoring the facts that don’t fit their narrative,” stated the lawmakers in their letter. “This political rhetoric and divisiveness that some local lawmakers and congressional legislators continue to use has no place in Connecticut. Through bipartisan efforts we have protected core elements of the ACA in Connecticut and we will continue to do so.  We don’t need the Washington D.C. ‘blame game’ here in our state. That is why we need you as a leader to bring people together. We need our governor to set the example and make it clear health care policy should not be used as a political tool.”

Fasano and Kelly recommended the proposed bipartisan committee include the following members:

  • Four state lawmakers — two co-chairs and two ranking members of the Insurance Committee (two Democrats and two Republicans)

  • The Insurance Department commissioner

  • The Department of Social Services commissioner

  • The Access Health CT executive director

  • Insurance carriers

  • A representative from the governor’s health care cabinet

  • The state health care advocate

“When it comes to creating an affordable and accessible health care system, we believe Connecticut has an opportunity to be the leader for all other states,” wrote Fasano and Kelly. “We are the insurance capital of the world, we have bright minds on both sides of the aisle, and we all share the same desire to make health care affordable and accessible to all. Now is the time to take the politics out of health care and focus on the policy. Our residents deserve no less.”