(The Center Square) – Citing health care as a human right, Gov. Ned Lamont said he introduced a comprehensive set of laws aimed at improving the health of state residents while reducing costs.
“Health care is a human right that too many Connecticut residents struggle to afford,” Lamont said in a press release. “Last year, our bipartisan budget created Covered Connecticut to provide nearly 40,000 more people with free health care through Access Health CT, which also offers great savings on health care for everyone. While subsidies are helpful, we also need to address the high and rising underlying costs of care.
“That’s why I’m proposing legislation to make pricing more transparent, safely re-import lower-cost prescription drugs from Canada, and cap exorbitant prescription drug prices here at home.” Three in ten Americans say they are cutting pills in half, skipping doses, or swapping drugs to save money — with the help of the legislature, that’s stopping now.
According to the release, the legislation would aim to codify cost and quality criteria for health care by increasing price transparency and reducing prescription drug costs. The legislation would cap the manufacturer’s annual price increase at a maximum of inflation plus 2%. In addition, it would authorize the Ministry of Consumer Protection to supervise the importation of Canadian drugs at a lower cost.
The legislation, the statement said, would establish primary care spending targets by putting information about health care providers on insurance cards, and direct companies to adopt health improvement programs. Residents would then have access to health care that mirrors programs open to state employees that offer lower premiums and financial incentives to those who perform free screenings recommended by the U.S. Task Force on Preventive Services.
According to the release, the legislation would grant rate increases to adult dental and family planning services designed to expand the Medicaid network and adopt a pair of interstate professional licensing pacts to address paperwork issues for doctors and psychologists. .
The legislation would invest $35 million to expand education and training opportunities for nurses and mental health care providers and invest an additional $20 million in financial aid for nursing and mental health students. It would also include a $17 million investment in student loan forgiveness programs.
According to the release, the governor’s budget adjustments would allocate $100 million in federal taxpayer dollars to expand mental health services across the state to help adults and children cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 19.