Dear President Obama, Senators Dodd & Lieberman, & Representatives Courtney, DeLauro, Himes, Larson, & Murphy:
As leaders in the State of Connecticut, we urgently call on you, to take up and pass comprehensive health care
reform in 2009.
The serious problems with health care in America – ever-rising costs, limited access, inconsistent quality, waste and inefficiency – converge in the states. The effects of these problems stress state budgets, exhaust family resources,
result in lost worker productivity, stifle entrepreneurial spirit, and literally cause tens of thousands of deaths each year.
Our disjointed health care system has formed a choke-hold on our economy, limiting job growth and economic
development. We cannot fix the economy without fixing health care.
Over the past decade, state legislatures have debated and implemented a myriad of reforms to bring affordability, quality and fairness to health care in America – designing solutions that reflect each state's unique economic, social, and
geographic factors. States play a vital role in the health care of hundreds of millions of Americans by administering
and helping to fund public programs like Medicaid and SCHIP, enacting innovations to expand access to public
and private coverage, and serving as watchdogs of health insurance companies and other players.
Yet, states cannot achieve affordable health care for all without the investment, leadership and partnership of the federal government. Successful reform requires robust federal-state collaboration.
Key priorities for reform are reflected in state initiatives, such as those recently passed by the Connecticut General
Assembly. The Connecticut Healthcare Partnership proposal, which pools together different employee groups
under the state employees' health plan, would result in savings for municipalities, small businesses and non-profits, while increasing access. The SustiNet plan lays out a framework for expanding access to high quality coverage to more residents, while containing costs, promoting preventive care, and laying a groundwork for federal health care reform.
Americans recognize that the private sector alone has proven incapable of creating a high-quality, fair, and accountable health care system that works for all families. Therefore, a key priority for reform is the choice of a public health insurance plan that is available to businesses, individuals, and families. Another key priority is strengthening and expanding the Medicaid program with the help of enhanced federal support so that it can serve all low-income Americans. Related priorities include: guaranteeing affordability for individuals and businesses; preserving consumer choice of doctors; eliminating racial, ethnic, and rural health disparities; ensuring shared responsibility among employers, individuals
and government in financing health care; and, cost containment strategies that eliminate waste and inefficiency and
improve quality, especially for people with chronic illnesses.
Failure to pass national comprehensive health reform now will further jeopardize state and local budgets,
undermining public services like education, public safety, and transportation infrastructure. The recently passed economic recovery package includes a number of positive health care measures, but these do not remove states from
the critical list. Achieving a high-performing, affordable and quality health care system for all U.S. residents is central
to a sustainable economic recovery and to the health and financial security of all families, businesses, and governments.
We, the undersigned, call on President Obama and the Congress to enact bold and comprehensive health care reform this year – based on these principles and a strong federal-state collaboration – and pledge our support as state legislators and allies in pursuit of high quality, affordable health care for all.