Many factors could be shaping the direction of health care reform in Connecticut this year. One key legislative committee recently held a public hearing on some proposals that correctly focus on the most important aspects of the issue.

Now in the Public Health Committee, these proposals directly address the core components of health care reform—reducing cost, improving quality and increasing access. All three components are interrelated, because if health care quality is compromised, costs will be higher. And the high cost of health care is primarily what makes it inaccessible.

HB-6675 directs the state to use federal stimulus funds in a way that increases access to health care in Connecticut. The primary barrier to access is the cost of health care, and as we improve the quality of health care, cost will be reduced.

CBIA urges lawmakers not only to support the bill but also to apply the stimulus funds to increase the overall value of health care through better technology, higher Medicaid reimbursement rates, improving people’s health status and increasing the use of data collection and transparency.

SB-678 correctly focuses on the core reasons why people are uninsured – high cost and compromised quality. It establishes the Connecticut Health Care Cost Containment Authority and focuses on the coordination of care, greater preventive care and overall wellness. SB-678 would also provide incentives to doctors to improve the quality of their care.

SB-782 promotes the development of health information technology, designates eHealthConnecticut as the statewide health information exchange network and seeks to ensure the privacy of health information.

SB-782 will improve the quality of health care because it helps doctors instantaneously access a patient’s medical history before providing care. This allows a doctor to understand any preexisting conditions, including allergies, as well as potential drug interactions with medications currently taken by the patient. It would help physicians avoid adverse reactions and events and improve patient outcomes.

Improved health information technology will also help reduce costs, since it will greatly streamline and make more efficient our antiquated paper system of health information.

All of these proposals could improve health care in Connecticut. CBIA strongly supports them and encourages lawmakers to enact these measures so that our health care system can become the model for the country and provide the best care for our state’s residents.