Senate President Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, brought his multi-media health care show to the Capitol Tuesday to lobby for the passage of his ‘Medicare for All’ proposal, which is a hybrid of several pieces of legislation.
In addition to legislation to create electronic medical records and chronic disease management systems, Williams’ “HealthFirst Connecticut” plan uses about $300 million to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates and other health care initiatives that are part of the Democratic majority’s spending proposal. Click here to see more detail and here for the fiscal note on SB 1.
He said the state needs to reform the current system. Using Massachusetts as an example, he said, there’s a good chance the Massachusetts plan will fail over time because it relies on the complicated existing system of health care. He said the state could look to Canada, Germany, France, or Japan as examples of universal health care systems that work, or it can look at the United States with a Medicare system that could act as a model for universal health care.
“No other state has done what we’re trying to do in Connecticut,” Williams said.
He said it would be best if this sort of ‘Medicare for All’ system would come out at the national level, “but I’m afraid we’re not going to see that real soon.”
He said by increasing Medicaid reimbursement rates it ends the cost shifting that happens when doctors treat Medicaid patients and receive 30 cents on the $1. He said what happens is everyone else with insurance receives a 70 cent increase in insurance premiums to make up the cost of patients on Medicaid.
He said ideally the state will get all 200,000 municipal employees into a standardize health insurance pool this year which the state would then self-insure. Then once the state sees the benefits and savings of the pool it will begin to invite businesses into it and ultimately wind-up with something that looks like the current Medicare system, he said.
When asked if by doing this the state may lose insurance business, Williams said “We can’t hold the rest of the economy hostage.”
“Things move forward…we need to adapt and change.”