State Lawmakers Explore Public Option

By Lynne Ide |

Map of Connecticut, filled with the state flag

It’s no secret that Connecticut residents are increasingly frustrated with rising premiums and out-of-pocket costs for health insurance and limited choices for quality coverage. Just look at the statewide poll the Foundation released last fall.

State lawmakers must have heard an earful from voters on the 2018 campaign trail. There are at least half a dozen bills proposed to explore solutions for individuals and small businesses struggling to get quality health care at a price they can afford.

Public Option: On the Table for CT?

All the proposals would create what is known as a “public option.”

What does that mean? There are primarily two types of public options being discussed in states: One is the creation of a new government-backed health plan that would compete against private insurers. Another is opening existing government programs, like Medicaid, for individuals to purchase on their own.

Basically, public option proposals could give individuals and small businesses a way to take advantage of larger pools, backed by the state, that offer quality coverage at competitive prices.

All of the proposed bills are short on detail at this point. They are each about one sentence long. More specifics will begin to emerge after public hearings. We will be weighing in at those hearings and listening, too, to what others have to say.

Hearing on February 13: A Chance to Learn More

The first step will be a February 13 informational hearing (10 am in Room 2C of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford) hosted by the Insurance & Real Estate Committee and the Human Services Committee.

Legislators are trying to get smart about what can be done at the state level – and what will help people the most.

The hearing will feature national and in-state experts:

  • Jacob Hacker – Stanley Resor Professor of Political Science and Director of the Institution for Social Policy Studies at Yale University
  • Cindy Mann – Managing Director at Manatt Health and former Director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services
  • Dan Muese – Deputy Director of State Health Value Strategies at Princeton University
  • Kevin Lembo – CT State Comptroller
  • Ted Doolittle – CT Health Care Advocate
  • Frances Padilla – President of Universal Health Care Foundation of CT

Next Step: Put CT on the Road to the Change We Need

This could be the year that legislation is drafted to implement a public option in Connecticut.

But they will need to keep hearing the demand for change from the public. The Foundation will be working hard alongside advocates and activists to make sure that demand is heard.

The opportunity for real progress is at hand. Let’s not let it slip away!

Please watch our blogs, posts and e-blasts. We will keep you posted on opportunities for action. And, feel free to contact us at: