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Connecticut Democrats will prioritize access to mental health services this legislative session

Connecticut state Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney
Jessica Hill
Associated Press
Connecticut Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney

Connecticut Democrats said making it easy for people to access mental health care will be a priority for their upcoming legislative agenda when the state General Assembly convenes Feb. 9.

The pandemic has increased the need for more readily available mental health services, said Senate President Martin Looney. That’s why he expects his Democratic caucus will make it a priority on their legislative agenda this upcoming session, he said.

“It's particularly acute among young people and school-aged children. And there are gaps in mental health access, mental health insurance coverage,” said Looney.

Legislative task forces set-up last year will report their recommendations to lawmakers in February. Those recommendations might include requiring insurance companies to increase reimbursements for mental health therapy sessions and creating alternative mental health insurance plans, said Looney.

“We hear many instances of mental health providers rejecting insurance coverage and requesting cash payments. And that of course leaves out many of the poor and most of the middle class as well,” he said.

Other priorities for the Democrats would include providing help to cities and towns to pay for special education and increasing the state’s earned income tax credit for low wage workers, according to Looney.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.