Insurance and Real Estate Committee
JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT
AN ACT CONTROLLING CONSUMER HEALTH CARE COSTS.
SPONSORS OF BILL:
Rep. Aresimowicz, 30th District
Rep. Ritter, 1st District
Sen. Looney, 11th District
Sen. Duff, 25th District
REASONS FOR BILL:
The bill intends to study proposed health insurance mandates before they are presented to CGA committees of cognizance in order to better understand such mandates and the potential ramifications they may have on consumers and the market.
RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:
State of Connecticut Department of Insurance, submitted testimony supporting the legislation because of the benefits associated with the proposed process of reviewing mandates. They believe the process will give lawmakers the opportunity to thoroughly evaluate the costs and possible impact of potential mandates. They noted the current process of mandate review and how mandates are only studied at the specific request of the Insurance & Real Estate Committee and the proposal would allow the CID to contract directly with professional actuarial expertise to perform analyses.
Ted Doolittle, Office of the Healthcare Advocate, submitted testimony in support of the intent of the bill, however urged caution on the timing of implementation of the policy due to the uncertainty on the federal level regarding health care. There is concern about the limit of 5 mandates in a year and the fact that requests for analysis can only be submitted during legislative session because if and/or when there is a federal change, state legislators may want to enact more than the limit depending on the resulting market changes. The bill may limit the flexibility of lawmakers to react to the federal policy changes. OHA suggests that implementation of the bill should be delayed until after the federal health care plan is understood and recommends the addition of safeguards such as delaying the effective date for a year or more. “Safe-harbor” mechanisms were also suggested to give legislators the proper flexibility to implement mandates pending potential emergent conditions.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:
Connecticut State Medical Society, submitted testimony stating their support for the intent of the bill, but with some reservations about the proposed procedures. They cautioned against have the review process is purely economic or actuarial in nature, but medical practitioners should also be involved in the review process. CSMS has some concerns about the time it would take for the review process to be completed due to the potential urgent nature of the issues that would be evaluated. There is also some concern about language being eliminated from current statutes that guarantees access to mandated service. CSMS asked to be named to any permanent panel to be used for the review of mandates.
Connecticut Conference of Municipalities
Connecticut Association of Health Plans
Connecticut Business & Industry Association
Rebecca Kayfus, Human Resources Officer, Thomaston Savings Bank
Yaron Lew, Chief Operating Officer, Lauretano Sign Group
National Federation of Independent Business
John O'Connell, President, C.M. Smith Agency
Charlie Sears, President, Dri-Air Industries
All of the parties above submitted testimony stating that they are in favor of a thorough review of mandates before implementation and that the proposed legislation would be a step in the right direction to control health care costs in the state.
NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:
Bryte Johnson, CT Government Relations Director, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, submitted testimony stating that while they are supportive of controlling health care costs, they are opposed to the concept that only 5 mandates can be passed in a session regardless of need, essentially “rationing” the legislative process regarding health care issues. They noted that insurance coverage is imperative for the treatment of cancerous diseases and no “artificial barriers” should be erected at a time when there is such uncertainty in the health care market to avoid further complicating efforts to ensure access to care for the people of Connecticut who need it immediately.
SOURCES OF NEUTRALITY:
Richard Duenas, Connecticut Chiropractic Association, submitted testimony noting the prospective nature of proposed review process and that they are concerned about whether existing mandates will be subject to review. The association suggests that that commissioner consult with the representation of major health care professional organizations during the review process.
Reported by: Matt Hoey