Join us as State Comptroller Kevin Lembo talks about some of the initiatives he is working on throughout the legislative session, as well as a general update on the state's financial situation.
Comptroller Lembo plans to speak on:
Public Option legislation: Bills now before the state legislature would allow the state to expand quality and affordable health plans available to small businesses and their workforce, as well as individuals who buy from the health insurance exchange. Small businesses employ over 700,000 people in Connecticut – almost half the state’s workforce – and yet less than half of small businesses offer health insurance benefits to their employees. Many of those who have coverage face outrageous deductibles and premiums. This is a very serious problem, not only for Connecticut families, but for the small businesses that drive Connecticut’s economic growth.
Prescription Cost Reform legislation: House Bill 7174, An Act Concerning Prescription Drugs, would allow the state comptroller to extend the state’s access to affordable prescription drugs to private employers and individuals throughout the state. The state already allows municipalities and other non-state public employers to offer state health benefits to their employees, providing access to better coverage for far less than they may be able to access on their own in the market. This legislation would allow all of Connecticut’s private employers to directly contract with the state’s pharmacy benefits manager to use the state’s contractual terms. This legislation would also allow the state to launch a drug discount program that would allow any state resident to access the state’s discounted drug pricing. Discounts could save the average resident 30 percent at the pharmacy counter on brand prescription drugs.
State’s financial outlook: The comptroller, in his most recent monthly report, said the state has a growing projected surplus (last reported at $506.8 million) for the current fiscal year. This is good news, though he has warned about the potential consequences of record-high household debt that deserves monitoring, and the implications of a volatile stock market April’s tax season.