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Group Asks State To Expand Health Coverage To The Uninsured

Contact: Bob King
860-703-3311 or 860-702-3300

In a report released today, a nonpartisan group of leaders in health care policy has recommended that the state move to provide health insurance to as many of Connecticut's uninsured children as possible and establish a program of incentives for small businesses to provide health insurance coverage for their employees.

The WORK GROUP FOR HEALTH CARE ACCESS FOR THE UNINSURED was convened last spring by State Comptroller Nancy Wyman. Wyman said the first recommendation in the report -- insurance coverage for many of the estimated 80,000 uninsured children in the state -- could be accomplished in part by expanding eligibility for Medicaid using either a Section 1115 research and demonstration waiver or the state's authority under Section 1902 (r) (2) of the Social Security Act.

"Appropriate health care access for our children should be a priority for all of us," said Wyman. "Not only are they a very vulnerable group, but they're ones for which prevention really pays. We see it as investing in Connecticut's future."

Wyman likened the recommendation to a new year's resolution for state policymakers: "We should do our best to make 1997 a happy and healthy new year for all of Connecticut's children."

The second recommendation dealing with small business incentives was the product of the Work Group's research into the area of Connecticut's uninsured families. The vast majority of uninsured people in the state are from working families whose places of employment do not provide coverage. The Work Group recommended that the legislature examine possible tax incentives to encourage small business to provide health insurance to their employees and their families.

The co-chairs of the legislature's public health committee, Senator Toni Harp and Representative Anne McDonald, both of whom served on the work group, have agreed to craft legislation based on the recommendations.

The cost of the Work Group's recommendations would be determined as their actuarial and programmatic aspects are examined more fully. However, Wyman pointed out that the Medicaid portion would receive federal support through matching funds. "These two proposals address the issue of our uninsured population in a rational, incremental way."

The Work Group's report was issued as a consensus document. "Each individual member of the Work Group contributed enormously to this effort," said Wyman. "They represent a broad spectrum of health policy leadership and I am grateful that everyone came together to address the needs of our vulnerable uninsured population, particularly Connecticut's children."

For copies of Health Care Reform in Connecticut: Problems, Prospects and Guiding Principles, contact Martha Carlson at (860) 702-3310 or find the report on State Comptroller Nancy Wyman's web page at

For Immediate Release
January 6, 1997
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