Senator Fasano, Senator Kelly Release Statement Re: Blumenthal Health Care Hearing

June 19, 2017

HARTFORD, Conn. – Today Senate Republican President Pro Tempore Len Fasano (R-North Haven) and Assistant Senate Republican Majority Leader and Co-Chairman of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee Kevin Kelly (R-Stratford) today released the following statement regarding the U.S. Senator Blumenthal’s hearing regarding health care.

“I wish Senator Blumenthal was more concerned with working on health care solutions than playing politics,” said Sen. Fasano. “Sen. Blumenthal has been absent while the Affordable Care Act in CT has brought about  increases to insurance premiums, a decrease in exchange participants, and a loss of participating insurers on the exchange. If Sen. Blumenthal really wanted to correct the insurance problems here in Connecticut he would have invited all lawmakers, regardless of party, to participate and discuss how we can work together to improve healthcare. But instead of reaching out to those on both sides of the aisle to discuss solutions, today’s event was orchestrated as a political event meant to deliver a one-sided message and wrongly promised those who came out that it would lead to change. If we want to fix the state’s failing healthcare system, we have to work together and move politics out of the way. My heart goes out to all the people who shared their stories and who have been suffering for years in our state due to unaffordable and inaccessible medical care under the Affordable Care Act and who will continue to suffer if we do not change the policies that have led to instability and growing costs. But it is wrong to parade out advocates and individuals to advance one’s own political image and create the impression of action by a lawmaker that has been silent on the health care issues that have hurt our state for years and created the broken system we have today.”

“Listening to the comments made by certain elected officials during today’s hearing one would think that before the 2016 elections the Affordable Care Act was working and health care was both affordable and accessible,” said Sen. Kelly. “But in the last year alone, long before the President was inaugurated; over 15,000 people in Connecticut who previously purchased insurance through the state’s ACA health insurance exchange did not renew their coverage – with 44 percent citing the unaffordability of their plan. And Connecticut has seen a pattern over the past few years of insurance carriers leaving our exchange. This is not a new phenomenon under a new president. This is the result of a healthcare system, engineered by politicians, not professionals in the healthcare and insurance industries, which has failed our state. Yet our Washington delegation has turned a blind eye to these growing problems for years. Where were their voices when insurance premiums jumped by double digit percentages last year, or when insurers began leaving our state exchange?”

Sen. Kelly added, “The ACA promised to make healthcare more affordable, with increased accessibility and improved quality, but that is not the experience our families have endured in Connecticut. Thousands have left the exchange because of high costs and now we face an exchange that may have only one, or worse, no insurers left in a system that was supposed to foster healthy competition and lower costs. In addition, we have seen the governor’s administration and Democrat legislators cut funding for substance abuse treatment, mental health care and individuals with disabilities. We have also watched the administration raise taxes on Connecticut hospitals which has put medical providers in difficult positions and ultimately led to families on Medicaid struggling to even access the care they so desperately need. Senate Republicans have put forward budgets that restore this funding and protect healthcare. We have sounded the alarm here in Connecticut. And we remain committed to working together on solutions. I look forward to working as a member of the bipartisan taskforce with the lieutenant governor to do just that. But we have to take politics out of policy. That is the best way to serve the people of our state.”