Letter: Kelly still wrong on health care

To the Editor:
Sen. Kevin Kelly recently shared “How Connecticut can make health care more affordable.” Unfortunately, Kelly’s two stated goals to accomplish this are flawed.
The first, to sell the public on decreasing premium costs is essentially a handout to the private health insurance industry. Kelly would establish a “reinsurance program” and use public funds to pick up the tab on high cost claims exceeding a certain threshold.
And, Kelly fails to share how such a program would be funded. He claims his plan will be subsidized by applying for a “state innovation waiver,” which would redirect federal funds already being received by the state. Yet, he makes no mention that the waiver will not cover the entire cost, and that the local taxpayer will have to pick up a significant portion of the bill. For example, in New Jersey, the total cost of their reinsurance program is estimated to be $324 million in the first year, with the waiver picking up only $180 million. This leaves a shortage of $144 million that the state would have to come up with, presumably by raising taxes.
That brings me to Kelly's second goal, which is to argue against a public option health plan, which has been proposed by some Democrats in the legislature. Kelly absurdly claims, “A public option is extreme and would actually lead to more expensive health care costs over the long term and destabilize the individual market through less competition.”
To this I challenge Kelly to find one study not funded by the private health insurance industry that supports his point. The public option is a whole new plan that would be cheaper for consumers due to there being no profit margin and limited administrative costs, in effect forcing the private insurance industry to compete and lower their prices. They can do this by becoming more efficient or by dipping into their profit margin a tiny bit. Hence, the public option would have the exact opposite effect.
I am happy that Kelly views rising health care costs and 194,000 people still being uninsured in Connecticut as a problem, but I call on him to offer more of a solution than a $100 million handout to the insurance industry. Connecticut needs the public option, for the good of the people. If you agree, please write to him and let him know at http://ctsenaterepublicans.com/contact-kelly/ or call his office at 1-800-842-1421.
Matt McGee