Health Care

Videos from the SustiNet Launch

Below are videos from the launch of SustiNet in Hartford last week. To learn more about SustiNet, check out this article on CCAG.net, or visit SustiNet.org

Universal Health Care Foundation President Juan A. Figueroa

CT House Speaker Chris Donovan

There are four more videos below. Click on "read more" to see them.

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SustiNet in the News

Local media reports on the January 13 launch of SustiNet are pouring in. Below are excerpts and links from around the web:

  • CT News Junkie - "Tonight We Have a Plan" (With Video)
  • Dr. Michael Deren, council chairman of the Connecticut State Medical Society, said many times these health care proposals are written in a vacuum without the input from medical physicians. He said that’s not the case with Sustinet, where the input of the medical society’s 7,000 members was welcomed and incorporated as part of the plan.

    “If the concepts in the plan are passed things will change,” he said.

    But Tuesday night was not about facts and figures or details about the plan it was a rally and a celebration.

    The rally call Tuesday night was a resounding “Yes we can!” followed by “Yes we will!”

    Also at CT News Junkie - Health Care Campaign Unveiled


  • New Britain Herald - Hundred Hear Plan to Cover Connecticut
  • “This is our first down payment on health care for everyone,” said Universal Health Care Foundation President Juan Figueroa. “Our state and the nation face critical challenges because of our floundering economy and skyrocketing health care costs. SustiNet provides the legislature, which convened last week, with an innovative and practical blueprint for change. Our proposal is action-ready.”

Continue reading for reports from NPR, WFSB Channel 3, the Hartford Courant, CT Local Politics, Real Hartford, and the New Haven Register.

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SustiNet - Health Care We Can Count On

SustiNet - Health Care We Can Count OnThe Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut launched SustiNet, its proposal to ensure that everybody in the state has high quality health care that is also portable and affordable. The plan's name, SustiNet, is the latin word for sustain, and was chosen in part because it is a key word in the Connecticut State Motto, but mostly because good health will sustain the people of Connecticut and bolster our economy.

SustiNet Overview

A 7-minute video overview of the SustiNet proposal for
health care we can count on.

SustiNet was developed over the course of two years with the input of Connecticut residents, policymakers, businesses, health care workers, organized labor, clergy and consumer advocates. It addresses not only the need to increase and improve access and affordability of health care, but the shortfalls of our current health care delivery system. It does this by proposing that every patient have a "medical home" to help coordinate care and encourage healthy lifestyle changes; by having clinicians play a more significant role in determining the standards of care; and by implementing standardized electronic medical records.

SustiNet does not seek to replace private health insurers, but to compete with them. The SustiNet plan does not have mandatory enrollment, and so those who are happy with their current health benefits may keep them. However, the plan makes enrollment automatic and easy for the uninsured. The SustiNet plan provides all of the benefits commonly included with employer sponsored coverage, including mental and dental health. Individual costs (premiums and co-pays) are subsidized on a sliding scale based on income, and any resident who applies will be accepted, regardless of pre-existing conditions.

To learn more about SustiNet, visit the information page at the HealthCare4Every1 website. A .pdf of the full proposal can be downloaded here, and a .pdf executive summary of the proposal can be downloaded here.

Foundation Presents Plan To Provide Universal Health Coverage

Hartford Courant - January 14, 2009

About 1,000 people packed the Great Hall at Hartford's Union Station Tuesday evening for the presentation of a comprehensive plan to eventually provide health care coverage to all state residents.

The proposal is called SustiNet, Latin for "sustains," and is drawn from the state motto to "reflect the proposal's commitment to health and sustainability," according to the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut.

Several years of research and work by a host of interest groups — private-sector unions, religious organizations, state unions and business owners — led to the proposal, said Janet Davenport, vice president of communications for the foundation.

The foundation hopes that the proposal becomes a bill and goes before the General Assembly during the current session.

State Sen. Jonathan Harris, who spoke at Tuesday's rally and led the crowd in a chant of "We're going to fight, fight, fight, health care is a right," said SustiNet will be one of the proposals legislators examine as they work to develop a health care plan for the state.

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Courant: A Fresh Call For Health Insurance Reform

Hartford Courant - January 12, 2009

It wasn't that Debbie Hunsinger didn't know about the lump in her breast. She did. And it wasn't that she didn't care about her health. Back when she had health insurance, she never missed a physical.

But a divorce left her without health coverage, and although she owned a deli in South Meriden, Hunsinger couldn't afford health insurance. She couldn't afford to see a doctor, either, so she decided not to deal with the lump. At the time, it was pretty small.

But by the time she finally got it checked out, about six months later at a free screening, it wasn't small.

And the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes and right arm.

If the cancer had been caught earlier, if she hadn't been one of the more than 300,000 people in Connecticut without health insurance, Hunsinger, 47, figures she might be healthy and back at work by now. Instead, she's facing dozens more rounds of chemotherapy and radiation and an uncertain prognosis.

Hunsinger thinks something must change. "I would hate to have anybody have to go through this just because they don't have health insurance," she said.

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Lose Your Job, Lose Your Health Insurance

According to a recent report by Families USA, in order for an average Connecticut family with an unemployed breadwinner to continue health care coverage under COBRA, it would exhaust 80% of their unemployment benefits each month. This puts Connecticut families in a situation where they have little choice but to go without health insurance. In the New Britain Herald, Scott Whipple reports on the tough choices that families in the state are facing:

A report issued on the same day the government released its latest unemployment data shows most laid-off people are likely to lose their health coverage.

The average national premium costs for family COBRA coverage consume almost 84 percent of average unemployment benefits. COBRA — Consolidated Omnibus Reconciliation Act — gives workers and their families the right to continue health benefits following job loss by paying the full cost of insurance.

[...]

“COBRA health coverage is a great concept but lousy in reality,” said Phil Sherwood, deputy director of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group. “For the vast majority of workers laid off in Connecticut, they and their families are likely to join the ranks of the uninsured. There needs to be a safety net.”

Sherwood called it “egregious that we have a health care system that if you get laid off you lose your health care. A better system would be one that’s portable, that moves with you from job to job, so when there’s an economic downturn Americans aren’t left unable to afford protection.”

[...]

“The right to COBRA health coverage is a tragic ruse for millions of families whose breadwinner was laid off,” said Ron Pollack, Families USA’s Executive Director. “Unemployed workers need either premium subsidies to help them afford COBRA benefits or temporary health safety-net coverage through Medicaid.”

Scott's article continues with a brief description of plans from three of Connecticut's federal legislators Sen. Chris Dodd, Rep. Chris Murphy, and Rep. John Larson.

Sen. Dodd Presents the Case for Health Care Reform

Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd, in his capacity as a senior member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) released a statement following a hearing on the nomination of former Senator Tom Daschle to Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. In the portion of the statement excerpted below, Sen. Dodd begins making the case for health care reform by citing facts about how the broken system fails to fully serve his constituents in Connecticut:

The case for reform of our health care system has never been stronger. Many say Americans have the best health care in the world and for many Americans that may be true. But how effective can that system be if it is unaffordable and inaccessible to millions of Americans? In [Connecticut], health care premiums have shot up 42 percent in the last 8 years – in the last two years, nearly 1 in 10 of our people have had no health insurance at all.

And how can we have a world-class health care system if high-quality care and value are inadequate in many parts of the country despite $2 trillion in annual health care spending?

At the same time, our health care system is failing millions of our nation’s children and adolescents. The U.S. is a leader among industrialized nations in infant mortality, affecting African American babies at more than two times the rate as non-Hispanic white babies. That is unacceptable.

Our system is creating a generation of children who may well be the first generation of American children who will live shorter, less healthy lives than their parents. That, too, is unacceptable.

This is happening, in part, because our system is driven not by the prevention of illness and disability but the treatment of illness and disability. It’s completely backwards – and it has to change. And with [Tom Daschle's] leadership and the work of this committee, I believe it can and will change.

(emphasis added)

You can read the full statement and watch a video of the hearing at this link.

Senator Dodd will also be kicking off a listening tour in state called Connecticut Prescriptions for Change starting in East Hartford on January 23rd. Details here.

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Congressman Chris Murphy Supports HCAN! Principles

Congressman Chris Murphy, who represents Connecticut's 5th Congressional District, showed his support for the Health Care for America Now! campaign's principles at the Community Health Center in Meriden. Immediately below is a brief video from today's event:

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ACTION ALERT: Rep. Chris Murphy to Sign HCAN! Principles

Below is an e-mail action alert that went out Sunday. If you want to be the first to hear about upcoming actions and events, sign up for CCAG Action Alerts here.
CCAG Action Alert

Congressman Chris Murphy has recently been named to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is one of the two House Committees that will guide national health reform efforts.

Richard Kirsch, Health Care for America Now (HCAN), Campaign Manager, will be joining us as Congressman Murphy publicly signs the HCAN pledge. Rep. Murphy has already been hard at work organizing his peers in Washington DC for health care reform.

Please join us to encourage Representative Murphy to continue this vital work in his new role!

5th CD Congressman Chris Murphy

RSVP Online!The event is scheduled for 11:00 AM Tuesday, at the Meriden Community Health Center, 134 State Street, Meriden. (Get Directions) Let us know if you can join us!

Get Involved: 
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Congressman-Elect Jim Himes Supports HCAN! Principles

Connecticut's 4th Congressional District Representative-elect, Jim Himes, signed on to the Health Care for America Now! principles today at the Norwalk Community Health Center. Below is a video of the statement he made prior to signing his name.

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