Health care in CT: Where gubernatorial candidates stand on issues

Gov. Ned Lamont, Bob Stefanowski and Rob Hotaling in the studio at NBC Connecticut in West Hartford. (NBC Connecticut)

The 2022 Election is Nov. 8.

Connecticut’s health care landscape has undergone some seismic shifts this year.

More than 2,000 people died of COVID-19. The General Assembly passed a bill expanding the pool of medical providers who can perform abortions, but with the reversal of Roe v. Wade, anti-abortion advocates are lobbying to impose new restrictions.

Hospitals have tried to end crucial services in some corners of the state, and the consolidation of health care services has accelerated. Insurers asked for an average rate increase of 20% on 2023 health plans, and debates over a public option and the legalization of aid in dying continue to brew.

Incumbent Gov. Ned Lamont, a Democrat, is facing two opponents in this fall’s gubernational election: Republican Bob Stefanowski and Independent candidate Rob Hotaling. The CT Mirror asked the three candidates for their views on several key health care issues, including how they would approach tackling rising costs, whether they would roll back abortion rights, and how they would respond to COVID-19.

The following has been edited and condensed for clarity.

How would you address rising health care costs in Connecticut? What approaches would you pursue to make health coverage more affordable?

Lamont: “Well, first, look at what we’ve done. We’ve expanded Medicaid, we’ve [launched] the Covered Connecticut program, [overseen] the expansion of the exchange … We tried to do something about pharmaceutical prices, but we didn’t get that through the legislature. Looking forward, I’m really enthusiastic about the health care benchmarking Massachusetts has done to bring real transparency, which we’re beginning to see when it comes to the underlying cost of health care.

“What I’d love to do is expand on what the comptroller’s office is doing with our 200,000 state employees and retirees, which is dealing with the underlying costs of health care, starting with hospitalizations. We are incentivizing our state employees to go to places where you get the most value. And there’s a big difference in the price and quality of one hospital to another, depending on which practice you may need. I really want to work with the private sector to do the same thing and work with the insurance guys to create a preferred network, so they in turn can drive people to places where we have less costs.”

Stefanowski: “We need more competition. This is not a knock on Yale [New Haven Health] or Hartford [HealthCare], but they have acquired a lot of the providers who used to be independent. I think having some more price sensitivity, or competition, would help. We’ve got to get prescription drug costs down. I think that’s a big part of it. I’m also personally very sensitive to senior care. My dad is 92, and I, obviously, I can help support him. But for him to be burning through his entire life savings, because he wants to stay home — I think we need to look at that. Another thing: Is there a way to reinsure some of these costs? There are big reinsurance providers you can work with to offload some of the risks. I think we should be looking at that.”

One comment

Johnny cardamone November 7, 2022 at 10:03 pm

The Hippocratic oath which all doctors take upon receiving their board certification as stated for 2000 years that doctors are to “ do no harm“💪🏼 we should not be promoting abortion, infanticide or euthanasia! we must step back from this culture of death!😩🐣🙏🏼🇺🇸

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