Health Care Won in the November Elections!

The votes are in (although some are still being counted) and health care won!
Now we have to make sure promises made during the campaign are kept in 2019 and beyond.

 IN CONNECTICUT
Ned Lamont, who had the most fully developed position on health care of the three major candidates, was elected governor. In the course of the campaign, he pledged to:

  • protect patients’ rights, especially the rights of women and people with pre-existing conditions

  • lower costs, by using the state’s purchasing power to negotiate, increasing transparency in prescription drug pricing and making cost to consumers a consideration in insurance rate setting cases

  • expand access and reduce premiums on Access Health CT

  • continue the Medicaid expansion (HUSKY D) and oppose a work requirement in Medicaid

  • invest in public health

 More information on many of these positions are in the Lamont campaign health care plan and this article in CT Mirror.  

 Many health care champions will be returning to the state Senate and House of Representatives and newly elected members have also committed to working on health care.

 We need to seize this opportunity to build a strong health care system in Connecticut.

NATIONALLY
The Democratic majority in the House of Representatives will provide a check on efforts to dismantle Medicaid, Medicare and the Affordable Care Act (ACA)
, although the Trump Administration remains committed to administrative changes to weaken these health care programs.

 Health care was at the forefront of many voters’ minds: 26 percent named it as the most important issue facing the country. Immigration was not far behind, with 23 percent naming it as the most important issue. https://www.apnews.com/222fd1571d744aec903604542eb11b70

 Medicaid expansion made big gains: Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah voters passed ballot measures to expand Medicaid. Maine elected a Democratic governor who campaigned on implementing the previously approved ballot measure expanding Medicaid. Kansas and Wisconsin elected governors who support Medicaid expansion. https://www.kff.org/medicaid/fact-sheet/what-does-the-outcome-of-the-midterm-elections-mean-for-medicaid-expansion/

 “Democrats Won a Mandate on Health Care, How Will They Use It?” The answer in the article: stabilizing the ACA marketplace, protecting coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, controlling prescription drug prices, investigating Trump administration actions that undermine the ACA. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/10/us/politics/health-care-democrats-congress.html

 Kathleen Sebelius, health secretary under Obama, told the AP she expects House Democrats to start designing a framework for covering all Americans and for that to be a major issue in 2020 elections. "One of the things this election clearly demonstrates is that health care for all is a unifying principle for the Democrats," she said. "We have been working toward that goal since 1965, when Medicare and Medicaid were passed." https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2018/11/08/us/politics/ap-us-election-2018-health-care.html

Jane McNichol
Protect Health Care for Immigrant Families!
Public Charge.jpeg

The Trump Administration is proposing extensive changes to the “public charge” rules that affect immigrants to the United States. These new rules will discourage immigrant families from accessing needed health care programs and change who can acquire “green card” status. You can help stop this proposal by filing a public comment by December 10.

For more information and an easy way to file a comment as an individual, go to https://protectingimmigrantfamilies.org/, the website of the Protecting Immigrant Families campaign.
Organizations can also submit comments identifying the harm this rule would cause on the comment portal on regulations.gov

 Background:
The “public charge” test has been part of federal immigration law for over 100 years. It is designed to identify people who may depend on the government as their main source of support. If the government believes someone is likely to become a “public charge,” it may choose to deny them admission to the U.S. or lawful permanent residence (“green card” status). Historically, the federal government has considered a very short list of bene­fits when determining who is likely to become a “public charge.”

 The proposed rule is a radical departure from longstanding immigration policy. If finalized in its proposed form, major changes would include:

  • New definition of “public charge.” The definition would change from someone who relies on the government as their main source of support to someone who participates in applicable health, nutrition or housing support programs.

  • More factors considered. In evaluating a person’s likelihood of becoming a public charge – with criteria including age, health, family status, and education – the proposal gives negative weight to children or seniors, persons with limited English proficiency, poor credit history, limited education, or a large family. The proposal also includes a radical new wealth test that would make it difficult for low-or moderate-income applicants (with income below 250 percent of the federal poverty line, or nearly $63,000 for a family of 4) to become green card holders.

  • Additional benefits included. The proposal expands the types of benefits that could be considered in a “public charge” test to include key programs that provide no income support but merely help participants address their basic needs. These programs include:
    - Medicaid(with limited exceptions including Medicaid coverage of an “emergency
    medical condition,” and certain disability services related to education);
    - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)(formerly “food stamps”);
    - Medicare Part D Low Income Subsidy (assistance in purchasing medicine);
    - Federal Public Housing, Section 8 housing vouchers, and Section 8 Project-
    Based rental assistance.

Jane McNichol