Foley announces health care plan for Connecticut
Side note: Citizens of the state of Connecticut have access to some of the finest health care available in the United States; unfortunately it is also some of the most expensive. The high cost of health care in Connecticut is straining family budgets and draining the state’s coffers as it drives jobs out of the state. The governor of Connecticut, Tom Foley, has proposed a three step plan to lower the cost of health care in Connecticut. Step 1 is to become the healthiest state in the union by 2020. Foley cites cigarette smoking, obesity and drug, and alcohol, abuse as three of the largest health care expenditures. Educating people to stay clear of self destructive life styles could have immediate benefits to the cost of health care. Step 2 is a plan to reduce the cost of delivering health care by 10% over the next five years. This could be done by implementing electronic record keeping programs and improving the way victims of medical malpractice and medical errors are compensated. Step 3 is a multiple part plan designed to improve the quality of care in Connecticut. Govenor Foley hopes that his plan will lower the cost of heath care in Connecticut while simultaneously improving the health care options available.
Connecticut’s health care system provides excellent health care to most of its citizens and it is an important contributor to our economy. However, the cost of delivering health care in Connecticut is higher than in almost every other state in the country. The high cost of health care puts a strain on our state’s budget and burdens employers and individuals with high health insurance costs. These high costs strain family budgets and drive jobs out of the state. Good health care policy in Connecticut should focus on improving the quality and accessibility of health care services while driving health care costs down.
Health care services collectively account for one-sixth of Connecticut’s economy and one-third of Connecticut’s state budget. The state spends nearly $7 billion a year on health care through Medicaid, employee benefits for active and retired state employees and state sponsored insurance programs. Although Connecticut has extended coverage to over 90 percent of our citizens, we still have basic coverage and insurance affordability issues that need to be addressed. The recently enacted federal bill will largely define how those issues will be handled. State-based plans for expanding coverage need to be tabled until we understand the structure and impact of the federal plan. Our health care focus near term in Connecticut needs to be on lowering costs, improving quality and improving the health status of our citizens.