Healthcare costs and vaccines to be debated in 2021 Legislative Session

State of the State

(WTNH) — Many families are getting crushed by the cost of health insurance. High co-pays and deductibles are taking a huge portion of paychecks.

Many people don’t even reach their coverage until a serious health event occurs. What’s being done to drive down the cost? Lawmakers are expected to debate the issue in the 2021 legislative session.

Senate President Martin Looney, a Democrat, says, “The crisis the COVID pandemic has brought to us the flaws, limits, vulnerabilities in our current health care system.”

Democratic lawmakers say the way to fix the flaws is with Universal Health care which is a plan created and backed by the government.

But Republicans say a government plan which pays fees to insurance companies is flawed.

Senate Minority Leader Republican Kevin Kelly fears residents will suffer: “When fees don’t generate enough, in other words, the costs exceeds fees then Connecticut taxpayers are on the hook.”

Instead, Republicans say they have a re-insurance plan to lower costs and save jobs.

“Here is the majority proposing a program that’s gonna go in direct competition with our flagship industry the insurance industry,” added Senator Kelly.

Not a partisan issue, but an emotional one whether the state should repeal the religious exemption on vaccines.

“Here’s the problem: there are children who can’t get vaccinated for medical reasons. They could have cancer, they could have other underlying conditions,” points out Representative Matt Ritter.

The incoming House Speaker says there will be a vote on this issue, adding legislation will only affect the measles vaccination.

Speaker Designate Ritter says it will be pro-spective and not result in children being kicked out of school.

The COVID vaccine which is currently not studied in children and not part of the CDC vaccine schedule, he says will not be part of the debate.

But some lawmakers say it’s more about compliance.

The Republican House Minority Leader says 20,000 families did not provide paperwork that their child was vaccinated last year causing concern among public health experts.

“We really should be focusing on compliance, awareness, promoting people to get those vaccines,” said Representative Vin Candelora. “If they haven’t gotten them and if they want to get them.”

Mental health will also be a big part of this healthcare conversation.

And “senior re-call” efforts. Senate President Martin Looney wants a bill to encourage businesses who made COVID related layoffs to recall senior workers first.

He fears those on the bottom end of the payscale will be brought back because their labor costs are cheaper. But that he says leaves those with seniority out in the cold.

The 2021 Legislative Session begins Wednesday Jan. 6.

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