ICYMI: ‘The Idea Is To Build On The Affordable Care Act,’ Not Create Unaffordable New Government-Controlled Health Insurance Systems

HARTFORD, Conn. – As some Connecticut lawmakers push for the creation of an unaffordable new state government-controlled health insurance system known as the state government option, CNBC reports that President Joe Biden’s proposed next steps on health care would instead “permanently extend recently expanded premium subsidies available for private health insurance through the public marketplace.” They report:

The idea is to build on the Affordable Care Act of 2010, otherwise known as Obamacare, which authorized the public exchanges and the financial help for paying premiums … The additional subsidies should result in much lower premiums (than would be available otherwise) for most of the 15 million or so uninsured individuals if they sign up, as well as the 14 million people already enrolled in health insurance through the marketplace, according to research from the Kaiser Family Foundation. 

As the Hartford Courant reportsthe push to create a new state government option “comes as the federal government, through the newly enacted American Rescue Plan, is funding a massive expansion of Obamacare and the state insurance exchanges, including Access Health Connecticut. Gov. Lamont, who opposes the [state Comptroller Kevin] Lembo-endorsed plan, says he favors expanding coverage through Access Health Connecticut, which offers federally-subsidized health coverage to more than 100,000 state residents through private insurance companies.” 

The CT Mirror reports that Connecticut residents now benefit from “a special enrollment period for residents who want to take advantage of additional subsidies that will help make coverage more affordable for many. The subsidies are backed by funding included in President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan … Premium tax credits lower the monthly payment a consumer must make to an insurance company for coverage … The average savings per household will be $116.05 per month, or $1,392.57 per year, Access Health said. More than half of households currently in a qualified health plan will pay under $16 per month for their health insurance.”

Extending the federal government’s enhanced premium subsidies is “an idea that enjoys broad support,” POLITICO notes, while at the same time, the Biden Administration has already taken steps to extend open enrollment in the federal health care marketplaceeliminate ineffective red tape that can prevent Americans from accessing coverage options and urge the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act.

Meanwhile, a recent poll conducted by Locust Street Group on behalf of Connecticut’s Health Care Future finds that a majority of Connecticut voters do not support the proposed state government option and are satisfied with their current health coverage and care. The poll of 800 likely voters in Connecticut reveals that a majority want lawmakers to build on and improve the current health care system rather than start over with a new state government-controlled health insurance system such as the state government option.

In fact, the poll shows that during this critical time Connecticut voters want state lawmakers to focus on jobs and the economy: 60 percent of voters ranked the economy and jobs as one of their two most important issues for the state government to address, while 48 percent ranked taxes as one of their top two most important issues. Only 30 percent of voters believe health care is among the two most important issues for state lawmakers to address.