Is CT Doing Enough to Make Health Care Affordable?

What is our state government doing to address health care affordability and are we doing enough?

A national organization, Altarum’s Healthcare Value Hub, has developed a Health Care Affordability State Policy Scorecard to attempt to answer those questions. According to that scorecard, Connecticut ranks a solid 11 out of 48 states. But, with a score of 46 out of a possible 80 points, it’s also clear that there is a lot of room for improvement.  

Polling data repeatedly shows that healthcare affordability is a top issue, one that state residents on both sides of the political aisle want their policymakers to work on. In fact, a 2020 poll conducted by the Healthcare Value Hub in Connecticut showed that more than half of those surveyed had a problem with health care affordability in the past year and even more people worried about affording health care in the future.  Across party lines, they expressed strong support for government-led action.

The 2021 scorecard helps point the way for action. It assigns points based on whether a state has implemented effective policies and looks at objective outcome measures to see if progress is actually being made. And it also makes suggestions for change. The tool focuses on affordability, particularly what is being done to address both out-of-control health care prices and high out-of-pocket costs. It also highlights state efforts to extend access to coverage and care and reduce unnecessary, low-quality care. 

What has gotten Connecticut to be in the top quarter of the states ranked by the scorecard? One important answer is the Office of Health Strategy (OHS), which is tasked with promoting “equal access to high quality health care, control costs and ensure better health for the people of Connecticut”. Since its inception in 2018, the agency has been putting building blocks in place to more intentionally address health care cost growth in our state. Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut was instrumental in helping to pass the legislation that created OHS. 

But Connecticut still has a long way to go to catch up with states that rank higher than us, including our New England neighbors of Massachusetts (#1), Rhode Island (#2) and Vermont (#3). These states have been implementing cost control efforts for far longer and have the authority in place to have real impact. 

We can and should be doing better. One obstacle to improvement is Connecticut’s history of backing down when the powerful interests of the insurance, hospital and pharmaceutical industries use their lobbying clout to fight against consumer protections that threaten their revenue streams. 

That’s why Universal is doubling down on building grassroots power to counteract the power of industry lobbyists.  Watch this space to learn more about our efforts to make sure that the health care needs of patients and families are “ranked” above special interest profits. 

To learn more, check out these resources from Altarum’s Healthcare Value Hub

Connecticut’s 2021 Healthcare Affordability State Policy Scorecard

Connecticut’s 2021 Healthcare Affordability Policy Checklist

See how other states are ranked by checking out the map HERE

The Price Isn’t Right:  Strategies to Address High and Rising Healthcare Prices