Connecticut healthcare thoughtleaders gave our state a “C” for health reform this year, the lowest grade in our survey’s five years. None of the dozens of leaders across Connecticut’s health care system who responded to the survey gave the state an “A.”

The biggest losses this year were in Medicaid and data-based policymaking, but performance in every issue area has eroded. As in the past Connecticut rated a slightly higher C+ grade for effort. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or not.

In the annual survey we ask Connecticut doctors, nurses, hospitals, other providers, reporters, insurance executives, academics, community and faith-based organizations, labor, employers, trade and industry associations, business leaders, brokers, payers, foundations, and consumer advocates for their assessment of our state’s progress, but this year we also asked about the impact of changes at the state and federal level and for their best advice to the next Governor. There is a lot of wisdom for policymakers in their responses.

Overwhelmingly, thoughtleaders rate health policy changes at the federal level as terrible for Connecticut. Concerns centered on uncertainty and less funding for healthcare. Thoughtleaders had more trouble coming up with opportunities in the federal changes. Some felt that winning on some issues could build some momentum that could drive progress in Connecticut.

Leaders are split on the likely impact of changes in political leadership next year in Connecticut. The most common response was “Who knows?” Concerns varied centering on leadership neglect and lack of understanding about healthcare. But there was guarded optimism about the opportunities, including getting a new start and a host of specific ideas to support progress.

Advice from thoughtleaders to the next Governor was the biggest spot of hope in the survey. Among the specific ideas were a lot of inspiring, hopeful thoughts.

“Think of our state as a great one — and a great opportunity to sail the ship in a prosperous direction — for ALL of CT residents.”

“Take a deep breath, dive in and educate yourself before taking positions.”

“Be brave.”

“Be open minded to doing things differently.”

“Let data drive decision making.”

In the midst of serious state budget cuts and attacks on healthcare from Washington, it’s not surprising that Connecticut’s healthcare leaders are gloomy. But there is optimism, lots of ideas, and energy to make a new start. The next administration has an important opportunity to harness and build on that energy and our state’s healthcare system is willing to work with them.

Ellen Andrews, PhD, is the executive director of the CT Health Policy Project. Follow her on Twitter @CTHealthNotes.

DISCLAIMER: The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of