There are some things to like about the Senate Democrats' approach to reforming the healthcare system in Connecticut.
They incorporated many of the recommendations of the business community concerning the quality and value of healthcare in the state. Specifically, they speak of using technology to reduce duplication of tests and medical errors through the use of electronic medical records.
They also want to increase Connecticut's efforts at data collection about quality and outcomes, allowing consumers to compare quality information and make better choices about health care and health care providers. In addition, their proposal calls for instituting comprehensive disease management programs, aimed at reducing costs and improving quality of life for people with asthma, diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases.
These are things the business community can support. However, we have serious concerns about two aspects of their proposal. One is the overall cost of their plan and the sustainability of funding the HUSKY and Medicaid expansions over time.
The greater concern is conveyed in a line in their press release that has been overlooked by early media reports. That is that the long-term goal of the caucus is a Medicare-for-all approach, that is, a single-payer, government-run health care system.
Although there are no details on this long-term goal, if achieved it could potentially be devastating for a state like Connecticut. It could cost tens of thousands of insurance jobs and be hugely expensive for state taxpayers.
For a good discussion of the benefits of a private-sector approach over a single-payer system, see pages 18 and 19 of the report of the Connecticut Health Insurance Policy Council.
We hope that the discussion at the Capitol during the current session (and future sessions) will be about how we can expand access to health insurance by improving the quality and reducing the costs of our healthcare system.
Although there are flaws that need to be fixed and people who need to be insured, we are still one of the top states in the nation in employer-provided health insurance. Let's improve, rather than throw out, the current system.