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Addressing rising health care costs, expanding access to care and addressing other health-related priorities at the next Congress following the recent approval of double-digit price increases for fully insured health insurance Lawmakers are under pressure to do so.

From January 4th, MPs meet for a long session that lasts until early June. Familiar issues such as the proposed ban on flavored tobacco products, measures to allow doctors to prescribe lethal doses of drugs to terminally ill patients, and the extension of Medicaid to residents regardless of immigration status are expected to resurface. increase.

It also gives rise to new ideas to address rising health care costs, combat the opioid epidemic, and strengthen health care workers.

Here are some of the top healthcare issues to be discussed during this legislative session.

It also gives rise to new ideas to address rising health care costs, combat the opioid epidemic, and strengthen health care workers.

health care worker

Recruitment and retention of healthcare workers in multiple clinics, from acute care hospitals to nursing homes, is expected to be a focus in the coming months.

“While the pandemic has impacted our society on multiple levels, the impact on our healthcare system has been most severe,” said South Windsor Democratic Senator Saud Anwar, co-chair of the Public Health Commission. said. “The pressure and stress was greatest for those providing healthcare to patients, and the nursing staff: [certified nursing aides], Physicians – not getting the right level of support based on lack of payment reform. As a result, people are leaving. ”

The Governor’s Workforce Council estimated that the state’s annual workforce demand in health care exceeded 7,000, with “a significant shortage of nursing, certified nursing assistants, skilled technician roles, and long-term and home health care.” There are.” But since the pandemic began, the number of people employed in Connecticut’s education and health services sector has fallen by 14,500.

Anwar envisages legislation that would provide incentives for people to attend Connecticut colleges and universities for training, and further incentives to stay in the state and join the health workforce.

help die

Proponents of a bill to give terminally ill patients access to lethal drugs are pressing for the bill to be reinstated again this year. The bill has been taken up several times over the past decade, voted out of public health commissions in the past two years, and has recently gained bipartisan support. However, it was never voted on by either the House or the Senate, and ran into trouble during its debate in the Judiciary Committee.

To be eligible for access to end-of-life care under the latest proposals, terminally ill patients must submit two written requests to their primary care physician. Each written request must be witnessed by two of her who are not next of kin and who are not entitled to receive a share of the property upon death.

Death aid is legal in Oregon, Washington, Montana, Vermont, California, Colorado, Hawaii, New Jersey, Maine, New Mexico, and the District of Columbia. This law has been brought up more than a dozen times in Connecticut.

“By participating as co-chair, I knew it was important to continue the debate on aid to the dying.” I am very interested in continuing the conversation and what progress we can make in that area.”

“I have had heartbreaking conversations with families who have been waiting for loved ones and those who have lost loved ones. [while] We are waiting for the bill to pass,” Anwar added. “It’s sad that we let so many people down who would have made that choice, and it’s important that we take care of those who can at least help in the moment.”

husky extension

In 2021, the General Assembly approved an expansion of Medicaid, known as HUSKY in Connecticut, to include children ages 8 and under regardless of immigration status (so long as the family meets eligible household income). A year later, lawmakers voted to expand the group to all children under the age of 12.

But some proponents argue the program should be open to everyone under the age of 18. Under the Affordable Care Act, some say it should be open to those under 26 because it is the cutoff for children and young adults to continue to have their parents’ insurance. Some are putting pressure on access for all residents, regardless of entitlement.

rising medical costs

Some legislators have acknowledged that they must address ballooning health care costs and legislation to provide relief. Legislators and state officials have said they are looking specifically at hospital and drug costs, but have yet to reveal specifics on how to cut costs.

For the past two years, Gov. Ned Lamont has unsuccessfully proposed limiting the annual increase in prescription drug costs to inflation plus 2%. His latest proposal also authorized provincial consumer protection agencies to oversee the importation of low-cost drugs from Canada.

Legislators have not ruled out the possibility of reconsidering these measures.

flavored tobacco

Connecticut has failed three years in a row in an attempt to pass a bill banning the sale of flavored cigarettes or flavored e-cigarette products. But proponents and legislators say it will likely be an issue in session now.

The 2022 bill would have banned the sale of flavored e-cigarette products, but like the 2021 bill, previous proposals banned the sale of flavored cigarettes, tobacco products and e-cigarettes. Committee leaders say it is not yet known which version will return in 2023.

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