This guest post is written by Jaime Myers-McPhail
With less than 15 hours left in this legislative session, we need to push our legislators to take action on health reform. The Senate needs to act with the appropriate urgency and approve House Bill (HB) 5013, which expands the board composition of the Connecticut Health Insurance Exchange.
This will make our work going forward much more difficult if we don’t get this done.
Essentially the last hope we have for the State Basic Health Program (SBHP), and for reclaiming the federally-stimulated health care reform process, is to fix the Exchange board.
The Exchange Board is charged with designing the regulated healthcare marketplace. The board is currently skewed to favor insurance industry insiders while shutting out consumers. HB 5013 is the way to remedy this.
HB 5013 adds four votes from consumers and small businesses to the exchange and gives the Office of Health Care Advocate a vote.
On April 25th the House of Representatives passed the health Exchange “fix” unanimously. We must demand that the Senate to follow suit and bring this bill to a vote and act to create a fair health care exchange for their constituents.
This may not be the public option that we call hope for, but it can (1) open the door to further health reform and ensure consumers have a voice in designing future reforms and (2) table us to win the SBHP and future public health programs that could be offered in the Exchange or supplement the Exchange for those who don’t make enough to purchase private insurance.
How can you help?
Call Senate President Don Williams (the person with the power to get this out for a vote) right now at 860.240.8614 to urge him to bring this bill to a vote before the clock runs out.
Here are some basic messages:
Please make sure HB5013 gets a vote today
It passed the house unanimously, now you just need to pick this thing up and run with it
Don’t let good legislation die
The public supports this bill, please get this done!
This is the best chance we’ve got to get a State Basic Health Program
Need more information about the exchange board controversy? Here’s a quick round-up:
- “Protestors to Board: Add more members or Scrap the Exchange” (CT News Junkie) October 20, 2011
- “Ethics complaint filed over Connecticut health insurance board appointees” (New Haven Register) November 17, 2011
- “Health Care Advocates Refuse To Give Up Fight Against Exchange Board” (CT News Junkie) January 19, 2012
- “The Cost of Excluding Consumers” (CT News Junkie) February 6, 2012
- “Health Foundation raises red flags on CT health exchange” (Hartford Business) February 14, 2012
Please act now. This is too important not to.
Jaime Myers-McPhail is a healthcare advocate and community organizer for the Connecticut Center for a New Economy. He can be reached by email at Jaime <at> ctneweconomy <dot> org
Health Justice CT provides a public forum for conversations, ideas and collective action. The opinion expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of HealthJusticeCT or our funder.