OP-ED | Making the Public Option Better – CTNewsJunkie

OP-ED | Making the Public Option Better – CTNewsJunkie

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ELLEN ANDREWS

Commercial health insurance premiums in Connecticut are the sixth highest in the nation and they continue to grow faster than inflation. While we’re making progress, it’s too slow. Legislators heard this loud and clear from voters during the last campaign. A public health insurance option to compete with private plans is getting a lot of attention from legislators and it makes sense conceptually. 

In 2010, our nonprofit CT Health Policy Project signed up with the Comptroller’s office to cover our staff through MEHIP, Connecticut’s first iteration of a public option. It seemed to make sense and we wanted to do the right thing. Unfortunately, it became too expensive and we moved to a private option the next year. Since then, the state has tried other versions of a public option; they’ve all disappointed for varying reasons.

Connecticut consumers deserve a robust public option that is affordable and sustainable into the future. We need one that provides high-quality care, with stellar member satisfaction rates, one that providers want to participate in, and doesn’t save money by shifting costs onto consumers or taxpayers. There are important improvements to the current proposal that would bring the public option closer to that goal.

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