With less than three weeks to go in the 2015 legislative session, here is the status of legislation impacting healthcare cost and quality.
Hospitals & Healthcare Roundtable
A number of bills stemming from the Hospitals and Healthcare Roundtable have dwindled through the legislative committee process.
One of these, SB 815, would have created a Healthcare Policy Commission to look at cost transparency and variation among other things.
Ironically, the bill would have driven up the cost of healthcare by assessing insurers and providers to pay for the commission’s work. This bill was not voted out of committee.
Another, SB 812, which would have set standards for statewide electronic health records, with a $50 million bonding package, also has officially died.
Yet the substance of these bills may be revived as the session winds to a close.
On the other hand, SB 813 is a Roundtable bill that continues to work its way through the process. This proposal requires the state's exchange and insurers to publish cost and other information on their websites, and requires specific disclosures by doctors and hospitals about cost and quality.
Additional health benefit mandates are still being considered by the legislature. These measures drive up the cost of health insurance for smaller employers by requiring their insurance plans to add certain services and procedures.
Mandates still under consideration are contained in SB 7, SB 234, and SB 15.
It's important to remember that these bills not only drive up costs for Connecticut's smaller employers, but any "new" mandates--as determined by the federal government--will also be a direct hit to the state budget.
And even if the mandates are not considered "new" by the feds, they will impact the state budget because of their inclusion in the state employee health plan and will also impact the budgets of fully insured municipalities.
While self-insured plans, typically used by larger employers, are exempt from state mandates, smaller employers are required to offer all of the services the state passes.
More mandates are not what Connecticut's small employers need.