There’s no question access to affordable health care will be one of the top issues for state legislators in the next session, but exactly what it will look like is still unknown according to the top two Democratic leaders in the General Assembly. Speaker of the House James Amann, D-Milford and Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn stood alongside members of an organization called Be Healthy Connecticut Monday and said they know “prevention is the cornerstone,” to any good health care system, but were unable to say what the future of Connecticut’s system might look like.
Amann said at he minimum by the end of the 2007 legislative session every child in the state will have access to affordable health care through the Husky Program. What about the group of 19 to 30-year-olds that account for one of the largest groups of uninsured or underinsured adults in the state?“One of the first bill’s out of the box will deal with uninsured children, which is an easy sell,” Amann said. Williams said the only way the state is going to be able to stabilize the cost of the uninsured is by addressing the problem with the uninsurance issue amongst the adult population, which accounts for the rising insurance premiums across the board. He said if we just insure kids and don’t take a look at the entire health care system then “we’ll just be back where we started in a few years.” Click here to see the outline for a plan Williams endorsed at the end of the last legislative session. Amann said the Democratic caucus will report back on a universal health care system by mid-January. Dr. Eileen Storey with Be Healthy Connecticut said the group anticipates detailed debates about a universal health care system. She said prevention takes time to pay off and that’s why the group is getting its message out about prevention early. Be Healthy Connecticut launched its advertising campaign in late September. Establishing a universal health care system using corporate tax loopholes was the centerpiece of New Haven Mayor John DeStefano’s gubernatorial campaign against Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell. In fact, DeStefano was so confident the need for universal health care existed in the state that he predicted Rell would unveil her own plan at some point during the campaign. She didn’t, but the Democrats gained enough of a majority in both the House and the Senate to override a veto.Now all they have to do is remember they have enough votes to approve a health care reform package for the state.