House Bill 6447, An Act Creating the Covered Connecticut Program to Access to Affordable Healthcare

Healthcare is a human right that too many Connecticut residents struggle to afford. Governor Lamont proposes working with Massachusetts to limit runaway drug prices to reasonable levels of growth and creating a Covered Connecticut program to help working families afford health insurance.

The Problem

Healthcare is a human right that too many Connecticut residents struggle to afford. Balancing family budgets while paying for coverage and care is a burden on nearly all of our families, especially those just above Medicaid eligibility levels. Nearly 200,000 residents, or 5% of our friends and neighbors, lack health insurance altogether.

Expanding access to affordable, high-quality care requires addressing the underlying costs of that care across the healthcare sectorAs every family knows, one significant and rising cost is prescription drug prices. A recent analysis of more than 3,000 drugs by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that prices of more than half those drugs increased faster than the rate of inflation between 2018 and 2019 – and the price of the median drug among those 1,646 pharmaceuticals increased by 3.5 times the rate of inflationThe cost of 1 in 7 drugs – drugs based on previously completed research and development costs – increased by more than 10%Although we value the benefits of cutting-edge research and the hard work of our healthcare system, this year more than ever, those are cost increases on a scale that Connecticut  and other businesses simply cannot afford.

Governor Lamont’s Solution

Governor Lamont proposes working with Massachusetts to limit annual increases in drug prices to no more than inflation plus 2%. That proposal is similar to bipartisan federal proposals and builds on the work his administration and a team of talented outside experts have been doing to develop a health care cost growth benchmark that bring more transparency to cost increases across the sector. That benchmarking effort was modeled on a similar Massachusetts effort that saved consumers more than $5 billion dollars over seven years.

Governor Lamont also proposes creating a new Covered Connecticut program, similar to work underway in New Jersey and California, that will reduce the number of uninsured Connecticut residents and help those struggling to afford insurance by reducing premiums on the Access Health Connecticut Exchange or suggesting targeted expansions of the State Medicaid program. The Covered Connecticut program will be sustainably funded at $50 million a year by an assessment on health insurance companies similar to a federal tax that recently sunset and by any penalties collected from pharmaceutical manufacturers that violate the commonsense limits on annual price increases.