During this election season The Connecticut Mirror is convening groups of people from around the state to ask their opinions on key campaign issues and their perceptions of the appropriate role of government. The participants in each group share a common circumstance or stage of life. 

In this   installment, we asked a group of people from the Bridgeport area, all of whom are parents, the following questions: What are your primary economic concerns? And if a gubernatorial candidate walked into the room, what would you tell him?

Here are their responses:

Amy Parkison: The economic issue I have is being able to have the surgery I need to be in better health so I can go back to work and provide for my kids. I would ask them to make insurance affordable and better access. Not having to wait for a long time for referrals and over scheduling. Access is a huge problem – I have had pre-existing conditions my whole life. I need an operation but can’t get it because my condition is chronic. I can’t get it until my status is acute. But I need coverage when it’s most effective.
Dan Pflug: Health care and insurance. There needs to be accountability of the health insurers. If you or I speed, we get a ticket. If health insurers mistakenly deny a claim, they say “Oops – sorry.” There should also be transparency about costs. If you have bloodwork at a hospital or facility, you have no idea how much it costs beforehand. The sick and elderly are the most vulnerable and companies should not be profiting off them. The health insurance system is becoming a money grab.
Elman Rodriquez: Health insurance should be more affordable to families. Premiums are going up, co-payments are also going up but the quality of service is going down. People are being forced to pay for insurance, but they can’t use it because they still can’t afford the copayments. So at this point I try to avoid using a medical insurance that I am being forced to pay for.
Jessica Racaniello The opportunity to get ahead no matter your income, unless you’re incredibly wealthy, is not feasible in Connecticut. Get the government out of the insurance business and start regulating the insurance companies. Take the pressure of insurance payments off the doctors and allow them to fix people. Health care shouldn’t be free, but it should be affordable. Maybe an ad hoc, a la carte system, young people need less, they should be able to select less. The insurance system should work for, not against, people.
Kerry Whitham My husband is older than me. When he retires, I’m worried about healthcare for me and the kids as I will still be too young for Medicare.  Insurance companies need to be non-profit and reform Husky. Why do people who are covered under Husky pay nothing?  I don’t believe in socialized medicine.  If you work you have a co-pay, but if you have Husky you get it for free.  If I have to pay $30, why can’t someone else?  The system makes no sense based on restrictions it draws.
Tinesha Hamilton: Our primary issue is having enough money to stay afloat, so that as a family we won’t struggle as much. Would you want your family to suffer and not have access to affordable insurance? Our problems don’t hit home for politicians. We have to make it personal for them.

This initiative was made possible through funding by Universal Health Care Foundation and Solutions Journalism Network. 

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