Between the election and the inauguration, The Connecticut Mirror conducted a second round of community conversations.  We met with college students in Hartford, people living with a behavioral health challenge in New Haven, people with young children in Bridgeport, and ALICE residents (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) in Waterbury. In this installment we asked the Bridgeport group what health care resources and policies must be shielded from cost reductions — and what steps the Governor could take without spending money.

Dan Pflug, Easton

Dan Pflug

Government must protect pre-existing medical conditions — and preserve access to mental health and detox services.  Facilities and therapists are often out of network.  The devil is in the details.  Some things that could be done without spending taxpayer dollars are to hold insurance companies accountable and require transparency in pricing by providers, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies. Everything is privately negotiated.  If more funding is available, the state should increase support for the Office of the Healthcare Advocate.

Amy Parkinson, Bridgeport

Amy Parkinson

Insurance coverage for pre-existing medical conditions needs to be preserved — and we should continue to fund mental health services.

Elman Rodriguez, Bridgeport

Elman Rodriquez

I agree with what Governor Lamont said during the campaign: healthcare is a basic right. So we have to protect insurance coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. And more needs to be done to bring down the cost of expensive prescriptions.  One thing government could do without additional money is to regulate drug companies.

Kerry Whitham, Stratford

Kerry Whitham

Insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions must be preserved.  My priority is affordable healthcare.  The state could act to reduce costs.  Insurance companies should not be making huge profits.  Also, the government should require co-pays from everyone.  If additional funding is available, use it to address the opioid crisis.

Jessica Racaniello, Stratford

Jessica Racaniello

Mental health and addiction services should be shielded.  They need to be more accessible.  More transparency about what services are available would help.  Government could take steps to keep health care costs down.  Insurance companies are passing along the high cost of prescriptions.  So government has to regulate the drug companies directly.  And everyone who uses health services should pay what they can.

Jamie Banks, Bridgeport

Jamie Banks

Protect the reforms in the Affordable Care Act.   The state could improve access to care even without additional funding by reevaluating big pharmaceuticals and working with insurance companies to cut costs. Overall, insurance should be affordable and make health care accessible.  That includes affordable co-pays, and expanding coverage, including for medical procedures.

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