Dealing with public policy issues honestly requires patience. Dealing with the cost of health insurance in Connecticut requires a lot of patience, laser-like focus, consistent dedication, and loving care, much like a neurosurgeon does on a newborn baby.
We expect surgeons to perform miracles in the operating room. Doctors often do. Powerful politicians can too.
The high cost of living in Connecticut is an ongoing problem. This year, our country has dropped to #39 on CNBC’s annual list Top Business Countries rankings, earning two “F” grades for our public finances and cost of living, and a “D” grade for doing business.
Health insurance companies’ recent request for an average rate increase of 20.4% for individual health plans next year and an average increase of 14.8% for small groups of plans sold and leaving Connecticut’s Affordable Care Act exchange gave a gut punch to people. It was a sad reminder that our health care costs, too, are among the highest in the country.
Twelve years after the law’s enactment, continued price increases are a stunning rebuke to the promise of the Affordable Care Act itself.
Real people in Connecticut — self-employed contractors with families, small business owners trying to do what’s best for their fewer than 50 employees, and the general public — can’t sleep right now because they’re sick to their stomachs about how to buy health insurance. .
What can a responsible politician do? At the same time, stop hurting.
Politicians need the Hippocratic Oath.
With sixty-eight approved health benefits and services, Connecticut ranks among the nation’s highest in demand for insurers that offer health plans through state exchanges to individuals and small groups. These people make up about 30% of Connecticut’s health insurance market. To be clear, this is the only part of the market that government politicians can control.
The remaining 70% of the market are individuals and families who get health insurance from large operating companies such as Sikorsky or Pratt & Whitney; These health plans are governed by federal law and are not subject to state action.
Each of these positions has helped raise health insurance premiums for contractors, small business owners, and individuals. The Connecticut Business & Industry Association estimates that through the 2019 plan year, each enrollee will pay an additional $2,085.48 in premiums for these 68 services.
Furthermore, these mandates pass through parliament without a cost-benefit analysis. For example, in 2022, SB358 (a bill to expand existing breast cancer screenings) and HB5386 (a bill that would set the cost of epi-pens at $25) passed without a report from the Health Benefit Review Program – a report that would have been accountable. important questions about what portion of the population will use the benefit, how much the benefit was already available, and the cost of the mandate to individuals, insurers, and employers.
And the report of the Health Benefit Review Program can show that setting prices by politicians or government officials for any product, especially a life-saving device like the epi pen, can lead to price distortions and shortages in the same product. Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson will tell you that government price controls are a bad idea.
Another thing that drives money is the money that is paid to insurance companies. Among those reviews is the government’s health care fees, which cost $32 million in 2021. $32 million was paid to insurers and paid to contractors, small business owners, and private enrollees for higher premiums.
Insurers are leaving the Connecticut market. Harvard Pilgrim is removing its plans for small groups, which affect 12,000 subscribers from January 2023. Connecticare, a health insurance company that started 40 years ago with a group of doctors, with a loss of 65M dollars in 2022 in the private market.
Government officials have tried to innovate but without much commitment to the effort to destroy, as evidenced by the project to hold UCONN to create a health network in the state, which led to about $20 million down the drain when it was released earlier this month.
Connecticut politicians need to look in the mirror when they ask who is driving our state’s health insurance costs.
Once we move forward with self-evaluation, we can begin the great work of reforming health systems to provide more, better, and more cost-effective choices. We need transparent pricing, payment reform, and value-based health care that aligns with health and financial outcomes, rather than a fee-for-service health care system that encourages more tests and services.
Bottom line, we get the government we deserve. If we want serious politicians, we should to be senior citizens. Very knowledgeable and proactive. There is no easy way. We must roll up our sleeves and be patient, one step at a time, demanding better laws and better ways.
Tackling major social problems requires patience, focus, dedication, and care, but it is not brain surgery. Us he can growing up in Connecticut.
On August 11th, I hosted a Town Hall via Zoom as part of the Summer Public Policy Series titled: “Why is health care so expensive in Connecticut & what can we do about it?” A recording of the interview is available on my legal website, www.refiorello.com
Kimberly Fiorello, a Republican, serves as State Representative for the 149th District which includes the towns of Greenwich and Stamford.