Dangerous waters: Connecticut’s worsening overdose epidemic

I recently spent a week at the outer Cape and saw large schools of seals close to the beach. When I mention this, the invariable response is “sharks.” Where there are seals, there will be sharks. It’s the nature of predators and prey. Which brings me to our worsening opioid-overdose epidemic, why it’s getting worse, and why it will deteriorate further if we don’t change our approach. The sharks are here. They want your children.

Larson, Courtney: Fix ACA by letting 50 to 64-year-olds join Medicare

After passing the eight-year mark since passing the Affordable Care Act, nonpartisan data from sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau have confirmed the real-life benefits the ACA has brought to the state of Connecticut. As the Bureau reported, the uninsured rate in our state has fallen from 9.2 to 3.8 percent, patients can no longer be cut off from medical treatment due to lifetime limits on coverage, and Americans have the peace of mind in knowing that a childhood illness or chronic disease will not prohibit them from purchasing health insurance later in life. However, in the seven years since its passage, the ACA has not solved every problem in the healthcare system and serious challenges remain even today.

CDC budget cuts threaten the fight against ‘superbugs’

Why are President Trump’s proposed cuts to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) such a bad idea? One big reason is that they are on the forefront of what Dr. Tom Frieden, former CDC Director, rightly called “one of our most serious health threats” — killer antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Connecticut must lead the way on universal healthcare

Affordable, quality health care can’t become a luxury: it’s a fundamental need, and access to it must become a fundamental right. Creating a single-payer system is the most effective way to guarantee access to healthcare for every person. … It’s time for Congress to advance a public healthcare system that provides every American — and all 3.6 million Connecticut residents — with affordable, quality healthcare. If Congress refuses to do it in Washington, it’s up to us to do it here in Connecticut.

Protect your family from Meningitis B

As a public health advocate, I work each day to educate families and health care providers about the importance and availability of vaccines. As a parent, my top priority is the health and safety of my children. So, it was surprising to me when I recently encountered a potential issue in getting my son immunized against a deadly, yet vaccine-preventable disease — Meningitis B.

Connecticut’s Medicaid efficiency is at the providers’ expense

If Connecticut residents are wondering what Connecticut’s “secret sauce” is to rank us tops in efficient Medicaid spending, it’s a combination of Inadequate and flat Medicaid reimbursement to home health providers, a State Plan Amendment cutting Medicaid behavioral home health nursing rates by 15 percent and other factors — all at the suffering and demise of our Medicaid provider community.

Time for Connecticut lawmakers to do the right thing for the disabled

Connecticut’s legislature, on a bi-partisan basis, has so far failed to do its most important job — adopt a budget. In response, the Gov. Dannel Malloy implemented an executive order to keep the state running that minimized its impact on the State’s Department of Developmental Services employees while devastating our most vulnerable citizens. Leaders can attempt to minimize the amount of damage inflicted, but if you are an individual with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), this executive order is the shut off notice from the electric company.

Medicare for all: The best replacement for Obamacare

The only viable solution to our ongoing national healthcare crisis has waited in the wings for a long time.  Teddy Roosevelt included the idea in his 1912 platform. President Truman proposed it in 1945.  President Johnson succeeded —partly– with Medicare.  Now more than ever, single payer national health insurance needs to move to the national stage for serious consideration.

Executive order budget undermines long-term health savings

Gov. Dannel Malloy’s Executive Order calls for a 5-10 percent reimbursement cut to non-profits as well as eliminating “add-on” payments to Medicaid home health providers serving the State’s most vulnerable in our inner cities. The financial impact of this action hurts Connecticut, its taxpayers, and our Medicaid program by jeopardizing the viability of the cost-effective healthcare provider network that creates a state savings of more than $100-million each year for the CT Dept. of Social Services (DSS).

Let’s protect health care, not politicize it further

In a June 19, 2017 press release, Sens. Len Fasano and Kevin Kelly decried the partisan nature of Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy’s recent hearings on health care. Fasano and Kelly called for a bipartisan forum that includes insurance and healthcare professionals. Appropriate as that would be, the press release itself was a highly partisan statement that undercut the call for bipartisanship.

Budget solution: Change the way Connecticut provides services

Let’s start with the harsh reality: beginning the new fiscal year without a state budget will result in human services agencies across Connecticut cutting services and closing doors. Yet since January, leaders of community nonprofits have offered a way to save $300 million over the biennium while re-investing that savings to people in need, by shifting more services from more expensive state government agencies into the nonprofit sector.