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OP-ED | Three Years Later, Connecticut Leads The Way On Health Reform

by | Mar 23, 2013 1:04pm () Comments | Commenting has expired | Share
Posted to: Health Care, Opinion, Photos

Three years ago this week history was made when President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act of 2010 into law. No longer would families across America fear losing health coverage if they lost their jobs. No longer would insurance companies be allowed to deny coverage to millions of Americans because of pre-existing conditions. And no longer would rising health care costs be allowed to spiral out of control.

Connecticut is on the forefront of implementing the benefits of this law, and as the law continues to move forward, more states must follow our lead – working at every level of government to ensure the benefits and protections of this law are available to all Americans.

Reforming our health care system is something that every Presidential administration – both Democrat and Republican – for the past one-hundred years. Now thanks to the Affordable Care Act we finally have a blueprint for all Americans to get the health care they need. This new system is by no means a perfect one, but it is a far better path than the one we were on just a few short years ago and I am proud of the role that I played as acting Chairman of the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee to help bring it about.

Countless men and women around the country tirelessly fought for years to bring much needed reforms to the way we provide health care in this country. People like my good friend Ted Kennedy who never gave up believing that we could be a nation that provided for the health and wellbeing of its citizens, or fighting to make it a reality; President Obama who never shied away from taking on this historic challenge; and of course my colleagues in the Connecticut delegation who helped make it possible – Joe Lieberman, Rosa DeLauro, John Larson, Joe Courtney, Chris Murphy, and Jim Himes.

The historic accomplishment that is the Affordable Care Act could never have been completed without the decades of dedication from people like them.

Today, Connecticut is among the states furthest along in enrolling its citizens into the new health exchanges. Beginning this October, men and women from Stamford to Woodstock, New London to Canaan, and every town in between, will be able to quickly and easily shop for the health plan that works best for them and their family through Access Health CT.

But just because the new exchange doesn’t start until later this year does not mean that families all across Connecticut are not already feeling the benefits from the reforms in this law. To start, more than 23,000 young adults in our state are now insured under their parent’s plans.

Efforts to make prescription drug coverage for those with Medicare more affordable led to more than 47,000 people in the state saving over $41.9 million on their prescription drugs just last year. That was an average of $880 per beneficiary.

Because this law no longer allows insurers to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, hundreds of people in Connecticut who were previously denied coverage had received coverage as of last August. 

And in 2011 and 2012, 945,000 men and women in Connecticut gained preventative coverage for services such as colonoscopy screenings, mammograms, and flu shots.

Benefits like these, and all the others that people across Connecticut received over the three years since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, are only the beginning. As additional provisions of this law begin to go into effect, people throughout Connecticut and our country will continue to feel more secure in their health coverage, see more options and services become available, and costs coming down. Three years later, much progress has been made but our work to bring quality, affordable care to all Americans continues.

Chris Dodd is a former U.S. Senator and led The Senate Health, Education Labor and Pensions work on health care reform.

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(5) Archived Comments

posted by: This is laughable.... | March 24, 2013  11:56am

The commission establishing the benefits under the exchange are going to end up creating a plan that covers everything under the sun.  Providers believe the exchange is going to hurt their profits if they aren’t paid like they are on commercial insurance.  So tons of benefits + high levels of reimbursement = a plan that no one can afford.  Unless the government is going to kick in lots of money in subsidies, which means the average tax payer, in addition to subsidizing Medicare and Medicaid, will now pay even more taxes to cover the exchange subsidies. 

This will be an even bigger failure than the Charter Oak plan.  One more step toward single payer.

posted by: meridenite | March 24, 2013  1:23pm

The aca is just one step in putting into place socialized medicine in the USA same as the bankrupt european plans.

posted by: Chien DeBerger | March 24, 2013  11:32pm

I will try one more time with out my adjectives for our dear former senator.

Is this a coincidence that we are reading his drivel the day after the Wall Street Journal runs a story of how medical premiums will be increasing between 20 and 60 per cent for the most of us and for some of the lucky over 100 per cent?

Quite frankly, between his work on AHA and Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae; he can go back to Hollywood and stay there.

posted by: john11 | March 29, 2013  10:34pm

“The benefits and protections of this law are available to all Americans.” Does that include Senator Dodd? Oh right, he is on the Taxpayer funded “golden health plan” for the rest of his life…and his family too! Unbelieveable… I can’t wait to pay for everyone’s healthcare…Including all our congressmen and woman..Yay

posted by: edvolpintesta md | March 31, 2013  12:22pm

March 31, 2013
Re “Three Years Later Connecticut Leads the Way on Health Reform” (former U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd) : By improving access to health care, protecting worker who have lost their jobs from losing their insurance, and making drugs more affordable, former U.S. Senator Christopher J. Dodd has done a good thing.
But much remains to be done. One area that needs attention is the way malpractice is handled because the current system treats neither patients nor physicians fairly. Some malpractice cases are not reported and others where malpractice has not occurred end up as malpractice suits.
Doctors expect patients to be compensated when they suffer because of medical errors.
On other hand, physicians expect to be protected against unwarranted malpractice suits. For it is widely known that the threat of malpractice suits forces doctors to practice defensively by ordering extra tests just to protect against possibility of suits. This raises the cost of care immensely.
Unwarranted malpractice suits could be minimized by eliminating the weaknesses in the Certificate of Merit that increase the possibility of unwarranted suits to move forward.
Another is improving the professional and ethical standards of Expert Witnesses.  Because the testimony of expert witnesses depends on whatever side is paying them, it often raises the “hired gun” criticism and serious questions about the justice system.
Perhaps the best solution would be “health courts” which are presided over by judges with special training in malpractice who use neutral court-appointed experts. Not only does this lessen the hostilities for all concerned that taint the current system, it gets compensation to deserving parties quicker and cuts down on litigation costs.
And because health courts are much less adversarial defensive medicine will decrease significantly.
Any attempts at heath reform will be undermined by the way that defensive medicine raises costs (unnecessary testing) and the way it limits access to care (by making doctors hesitant to take on difficult case for fear of being sued).
Clearly, if Connecticut wants to continue to lead the way on health reform, it must reform the malpractice system as well.
Edward Volpintesta MD

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