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New Connecticut benchmark report finds increased spending on healthcare

Rick Bowmer

Connecticut’s first ever healthcare cost growth report has just been released. It finds that the state’s healthcare spending exceeds the benchmark set by Democratic Governor Ned Lamont.

The report finds that Connecticut’s healthcare spending increased 6% between 2020 and 2021. That’s higher than the 3.4% benchmark set by Lamont in 2020.

“What these numbers show us is just the impact that the pandemic had on access to care for patients throughout Connecticut,” said Paul Kidwell, senior vice president policy at the Connecticut Hospital Association.

The report shows that needed healthcare was deferred as the pandemic raged in 2020. And in 2021, when people started feeling more comfortable, they returned for essential medical procedures, often times sicker, requiring more resources to treat.

State Senate Republican Minority Leader Kevin Kelly responded to the report by renewing his call for bipartisan support for a GOP plan to bring down healthcare insurance premiums by 30%.

“For the average family of four that's a $7,000 a year savings. Almost $600 a month. That’s real money. And for me it's worth getting over the line and adopting into law,” said Kelly.

Governor Lamont has offered his own proposals. They include the elimination of certain hospital fees charged at free standing offices and clinics, which is facing opposition from the hospitals, and committing Connecticut to join a multistate bulk purchasing consortium to negotiate prescription drug prices.

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.