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Connecticut GOP lawmakers announce mental health proposals

State Sen. Kevin Kelly, R-Stratford, during opening session at the state Capitol, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018, in Hartford, Conn.
Jessica Hill
Associated Press

Republicans and Democrats in Connecticut say mental health services have been overwhelmed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both sides say they will introduce different proposals to address the issue when the General Assembly reconvenes next month.

The GOP caucus in the state Senate is proposing using federal COVID relief money to increase access to mental health care by paying private providers more, said Kevin Kelly, the Senate Republican minority leader.

“We’ve been given billions of dollars to deal with the COVID pandemic. This is where we should be putting our money, is on to the people in need, where people are facing challenges,” he said.

The GOP proposals also address youth mental health and more screening and support for maternal mental health.

“It will address the youth mental health crisis and help families navigate and access what can be life saving care,” Kelly said.

Democrats are considering proposals that might require insurance companies to increase reimbursements for mental health therapy and creating alternative mental health insurance plans.

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.