Conn. Health Exchange would collapse under GOP plan

- FILE - The Access Health CT office in New Haven (WTNH)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The head of Connecticut’s Obamacare health exchange says that the health care plan passed by Republicans in the House on Thursday would destroy Connecticut’s ‘Access Health CT” system and leave many Connecticut residents without insurance coverage. Even before Obamacare, Connecticut had one of the highest rates of people insured in the country. Less than 10 percent were uninsured, but under Obamacare that number has cut by about two thirds.

About 300,000 Connecticut residents are currently covered by a subsidized insurance plan under Obamacare or are covered by the expansion of Medicaid under what’s formally known as the ‘Affordable Care Act.’ Connecticut was one of the first states to set up an exchange and open store fronts with grants from the federal government under the law.

Before Obamacare even began, Governor Malloy appointed Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman to be chair of the exchange and the Connecticut Health Care Cabinet. She says the Republican Healthcare plan passed in the House and celebrated by President Trump yesterday would help some Connecticut residents, but not with their health care. “First of all,” says Wyman, “that bill is not a health care bill. It really is a tax bill for the rich, to relieve them of taxes.”

That’s because it cuts the Medicare payroll tax on high income earners and it cuts the tax on investment income. It also would lower insurance pricing for younger residents and for people that don’t want to have insurance. They would no longer be penalized for not having it. Without that money coming from Washington, the Connecticut exchange would collapse on January 1st unless the state can find some way to fund it.

It is also estimated that about 500,000 Connecticut residents have some sort of pre-existing condition. Wyman says the Republican bill gives insurance companies the green light for much higher premiums, “Under what this bill has put through, it basically says that these people ‘we can charge them anything we want.”

Sen.Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) adding, “The ‘Affordable Care Act’ is the law of the land and this House measure would decimate it catastrophically for Connecticut as well as the country.” Blumenthal says that is why this plan has no chance in the Senate and he expects moderate Republicans in the Senate to re-write the bill from the bottom up.

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