You have a quarter mile left to go and just two minutes until your appointment. You’re in a rush because you had to leave work early and you’re a little nervous. Unsure of where the office is located you’re relieved to see the number so you pull in, park, and start walking quickly toward the medical building. That’s when you notice them, a group of people holding signs seemingly standing in the way of the entrance.
Eugene is 64 years old with a long history of coronary heart disease. He has a tracheotomy to help breathe and spent more than a dozen years in nursing facilities. But after two failed attempts to move out of the facility and into the community, he finally has an apartment of his own and he’s going back to school. His story is marked by both tragedy and successes. But Eugene’s story is also proof that where there is a will to persevere and support to help make it happen, people with disabilities and complex needs can thrive in the community, improve their quality of life and save the state millions in far more expensive care.
In recent years, the anti-abortion movement has passed more than 400 state laws that shame, pressure, and punish women who have decided to have an abortion – despite the fact that three-quarters of voters support access to abortion. But the anti-abortion movement has also pursued a lower-profile, more insidious strategy of setting up shop in our neighborhoods, opening nearly 2,500 “fake clinics” that pose as women’s medical facilities, but instead of providing legitimate medical services, use lies, pressure, and deceit to prevent women from getting an abortion.
Connecticut House Bill No. 5416 proposes to prohibit deceptive advertising practices of “limited services pregnancy centers” which it defines as pregnancy services centers that “do not provide referrals to clients for abortions or emergency contraception.” The bill has generated both strong support and opposition from the medical and religious communities. Below are excerpts from a sampling of public testimony from people and organizations that oppose or support the legislation.
As a physician who cares for Connecticut women’s reproductive health needs, I urge the Connecticut State General Assembly to pass the HB 5210, an Act Mandating Insurance Coverage of Essential Health Benefits and Expanding Mandated Health Benefits for Women, Children and Adolescents. This bill would require private insurance plans available in Connecticut to cover specific preventative services, including contraception, for women without added cost to policy-holders. Women should have access to preventative care regardless of action in Washington, D.C. and we in Connecticut can and must protect this essential care for the women of our state.
Under pressure to end a long running stalemate over the Connecticut state budget last year, lawmakers made a number of decisions that continued the destructive trend of unraveling the human services safety net. The continuation of recent years’ cuts to state subsidy funding for School Based Health Centers (SBHC) is among the most destructive of these reductions. With the new legislative session underway, we are hopeful lawmakers will find a way to halt this trend and reject the governor’s current proposal to reduce the budget further, by 5.84 percent, on top of the 2.14 percent cut to the SBHCs in last October’s approved budget.
“It’s a blessing to have them in my life” said Jennifer Gambo, of Middletown, to a reporter outside of a pregnancy center targeted by Democrats this session. She and many thousands of women were helped by Connecticut pregnancy resource centers last year with counseling, pregnancy testing, education, ultrasounds, donations, encouragement and compassion for free. It was not only free to the women who sought their help, but free to the state of Connecticut, which offers no financial support to the 27 centers throughout our state that offer care to all women.
It is truly amazing that medical records are considered less important than are phone records to be protected by the 4th amendment.
With H.B. 5290 and S.B. 16, Connecticut continues to override patient privacy rights in order to get data to determine Connecticut’s health care policies.
Connecticut is not a bad place to be on Medicaid, but it’s about to become a lot worse. As an internal medicine primary care resident, I care for many patients insured through Medicaid, a program which allows my patients’ chronic diseases (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression) to be managed according to the most up-to-date evidence available. I screen my patients for colon cancer and cervical cancer. I counsel them to avoid tobacco, drink alcohol in moderation, and comfort them in difficult times. I have a lot to do to help my patients maintain their health.
Congress recently averted a healthcare crisis by working in a bipartisan fashion to fix a problematic Medicare policy that would have left many of Connecticut’s most vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries without access to lifesaving treatment. Lawmakers should build on this bipartisanship and ensure Medicare provides a comprehensive home infusion benefit for beneficiaries here and around the country.
March 6 marks the 20th anniversary of the Connecticut Lottery Corporation massacre in Newington. That Friday, a 35-year-old employee used a knife and gun to kill four bosses. We condemn the actions of the killer, and express deep sympathy for all the victims and survivors. Within hours, gun legislation, and metal detectors were discussed. After 20 years, we still have terrorism and violence — workplace, domestic, military, police, government …and yes, Columbine, Sandy Hook and Stoneman Douglas.
It would be easy to miss a major victory in the cause of improving mental health services and awareness for Connecticut residents on the CT form 1040 this year. At the end of the form, there is a list of causes to which taxpayers can donate all or a portion of their state tax refund. It’s a who’s who of well-known causes: wildlife, breast cancer, military families, AIDS research, college funds, safety net services, organ transplants … and now mental health and substance use.