Tell Your State Legislator: Action in July is Not Enough

July 20, 2020

By Jackie Nappo

 

Connecticut’s special legislative session is finally here. A lot has gone on between the March shutdown and now, and it’s clear we need bold action to guide us to the other side of this crisis.

The four issues that legislators will take up in the next week include insulin costs, telehealth, absentee ballots, and police accountability.

These are good first steps, but they are far from enough to address all the pain points that COVID-19 has amplified.

We hope to see another special session in September, and state residents need action on comprehensive legislation to address pressing public health, health equity, and health care affordability issues.

You can read our full list of legislative priorities here.

In the next week, the legislature plans to pass all four bills. Here are the key features of the two health care-related bills:

Telehealth
  1. Insurers must make telehealth available at no cost to the consumer.
  2. Uninsured folks will pay the Medicare rate for telehealth visits.
  3. Telephone only telehealth (for people with no connection via computers or hand held devices) will be covered for Medicaid and private insurance.
Insulin
  1. Out of pocket monthly cap will be $25.
  2. Kevin’s Law — allows pharmacists to fill emergency insulin and diabetic supplies prescriptions for 30 days if a doctor can’t be reached to authorize a prescription.
  3. Allows the state to conduct a study on a program to assist low-income patients with diabetes.

Legislators will also vote to allow the widespread use of absentee ballots for the November election, and adopt police accountability reforms. We support both of these measures, too.

Still, our state government needs to step up and do more for its residents. The mass suffering will not be fixed by these four bills alone.

Here is some of what we think needs action in September — if not before:
  1. Expand affordable health care coverage options, especially to immigrants regardless of their status.
  2. Protect residents from high health care costs. That means no surprise bills, and no out-of-pocket costs.
  3. Treat community health workers, doulas, and recovery coaches as the essential health workers that they are.
  4. Create targeted public health solutions for everybody who has been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, including the elderly, the incarcerated, the disabled, front line workers, and people of color.

Use this link to find contact info for your elected officials. Thank them for taking action in July and tell them that you want more action in September. (Use points 1–4 above to guide you.)