Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, said Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s budget was “unusual for a Republican governor.” While he applauded her education initiatives he criticized her health care proposal which doesn’t increase Medicaid reimbursements. Williams said it’s been shown how reimbursement rates are directly tied to access. He said the premium assistance for private managed care organizations doesn’t guarantee any increase in health insurance for the uninsured in the state.
He said there’s no reason we can’t address education and “step up to the plate on health care.” Connecticut Voices for Children agreed with Williams’ assessment. They said parents above 150 percent of the federal poverty level will have to buy into Rell’s Charter Oak Plan. Parents with children that earn under 150 percent of the poverty level would qualify for HUSKY. One hundred fifty percent of the poverty level for a family of three is $25,000 per year. These are the families that would be paying premiums under the Rell plan. Sharon Langer, CT Voices senior policy fellow, said research has shown that even when people have to pay a modest premium they are less likely to seek coverage. “At the end of the day this may still be unaffordable for many families,” Langer said. Mary Glassman, who ran on for lieutenant governor on the Democratic ticket said health care was “the weakest link in the budget.” Rells plan also only allocates $1 million in Husky outreach funds which Langer said is woefully inadequate. Under Rell’s Charter Oak Plan insurance companies would offer residents that are uninsured health care coverage at $250 per month. “I have also heard the concern that this premium could still be difficult for some lower income individuals—and I agree,” she said. “Therefore, I am proposing funding of 55 million dollars for premium assistance to help lower income individuals enroll in the Charter Oak Plan.” Rell’s budget offers financial assistance to those unable to pay the $250 a month. Premium assistance would be as low as $75 per month, but Langer said she’s uncertain if that’s $75 per adult or per family. The one bright spot is in addition to the $55 million the governor is taking a strong stand with respect to the need for the HUSKY MCOs to open their records to public scrutiny, the governor’s budget chief Robert Genuario said Wednesday. He said Rell will introduce legislation to require any new, amended, or extended MCO contracts to require the MCOs to comply with the state’s FOI Laws. Click here for the full budget and presentation.