State Capitol Update for the Week of April 3rd

April 3, 2023


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Dear Friend,

This is my State Capitol update for the week of April 3rd.

If you prefer to watch rather than read, click on the video below to hear about the issues contained in this newsletter.

It was an early Monday morning start for me, as the day began with a Finance Committee public hearing on the Governor's revenue and bonding proposals, and I needed to be in Hartford before 8am to prepare.  I decided to do my weekly video this morning (instead of over the weekend, as has been my recent schedule) so that I could talk about some of the preparations that happen before a public hearing.  As testimony must officially be filed before 3pm the previous day, and it takes a little time to get it all uploaded onto the state website, a lot of that preparation (reading testimony and briefing materials, printing out a few to have on hand during the hearing, refreshing my notes on the Governor's proposals in this case, and reviewing the list of speakers signed up, for example) needs to happen the evening before and/or the morning of a hearing, so I had all of my notes and papers on hand for the video. 


And then someone else preparing for the hearing knocked on my door during the video, and I forgot all about showing those notes!  Life happens. 


This weekend the UConn Huskies men's basketball team vanquished the Miami Hurricanes on Saturday night, putting them in the national championship (tonight at 9:20) against San Diego State, so many of those testifying in today's hearing were either wearing UConn regalia or blue and white clothing, or ended their testimony with "Go, Huskies."  There was general unanimity on that one. 


The Governor's proposals included a lot of programs with big local impact, particularly grant programs for open space, affordable housing, nonprofits and municipal capital improvements, so I heard from many constituents who weighed in on those programs.  All are worthy and can be impactful, and it will be our job to weigh those against other proposals and to make sure the numbers add up to a sustainable, responsible budget. 


I wish you all a happy Easter weekend coming up.  My husband and I, and one of our daughters, are headed to Chicago for the holiday and to catch a couple of our son's baseball games (I have already packed a few chocolates from Thorncrest Farm in Goshen) so the next newsletter may be a little late.   


Here’s a list of today’s topics:

  • COVID-19 weekly update. Click here
  • First healthcare cost growth benchmark report released. Click here
  • Mascot Madness in Region 20. Click here
  • Princess & Superhero benefit at Marvelwood School for the Make-a-Wish Foundation on Sunday, April 30. Click here
  • Goshen Players present The Marvelous Wonderettes starting April 29. Click here

COVID-19 update

For graphs and tables containing data on COVID-19, including a list of cases in every municipality, visit and click the link that is labeled, “Data Tracker.”

Note that the federal government is making at home test kits available free of charge.  For more information,

First healthcare cost growth benchmark report released

The Connecticut Healthcare Cost Growth Benchmark Report for 2021, which was released by the Connecticut Office of Health Strategy last week, finds that healthcare spending in the state increased by 6% between 2020 and 2021, surpassing the state’s benchmark target of 3.4%.


The benchmark initiative was codified into state law in 
Public Act 22-118. It serves as a way to keep the healthcare system accountable for providing affordable healthcare to the residents of Connecticut. The initiative monitors healthcare spending at four levels: the state overall; health insurance market (i.e., Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial); individual insurance carrier; and advanced network (i.e., provider entities). Connecticut is one of nine states in the nation to establish a healthcare cost growth benchmark.


According to the report, Connecticut spent $34 billion on healthcare and insurance costs in 2021, up from $31.9 billion in 2019 and $30.9 billion in 2020. Cost growth in 2021 was driven by an 18.8% increase in commercial health insurance spending while increases in Medicare and Medicaid were more modest. Connecticut’s increase in commercial growth was larger than that in other states with benchmarks such as Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Oregon. The rebound from decreased spending in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the year over year increases in 2021.


The benchmark report also shows that Connecticut overall met its target to spend 5% of total healthcare costs on primary care in 2021, but that commercial payers did not meet the 5% benchmark. Since higher primary care spending is associated with better health outcomes and lower overall costs, the benchmark initiative has also set a goal of reaching 10% of spending on primary care by 2025.


The Office of Health Strategy is charged with working with the 
Healthcare Benchmark Initiative Steering Committee and other key stakeholders to create cost growth mitigation strategies and solutions in response to the report. The agency plans to hold a hearing this spring to review the report’s finding and hear from stakeholders as it begins to chart a path toward more affordable healthcare.


There are a number of legislative reforms this year focused on cost reduction, which are included in 
House Bill 6669, which was recently approved by the Public Health Committee, and Senate Bill 983, which was recently approved by the Insurance and Real Estate Committee.


The legislation:


  • Eliminates hospital facility fees charged at free-standing offices and clinics.
  • Implements stronger regulatory enforcement tools at the Connecticut Office of Health Strategy to assure compliance with certificate of need requirements and related conditions of approval, such as cost controls, patient access, and detailed reporting. This will curb health care costs by preventing duplicative services in specific areas, while ensuring availability and access to critical services in all parts of the state.
  • Commits Connecticut to joining a multistate bulk purchasing consortium to negotiate prescription drug discounts that all of the state’s residents will be able to access through a discount card at their pharmacy.
  • Requires the Connecticut Office of Health Strategy to annually publish a list of prescription drugs that are experiencing major price spikes to inform consumers and prescribers about which drug prices are going up and by how much.
  • Reins in aggressive marketing practices by pharmaceutical representatives to ensure prescribers get clear and accurate information about the drugs they prescribe and generic alternatives. Pharmaceutical representatives will be required to complete a training, register with the state, and disclose relevant information about drug costs and efficacy across different races and ethnicity, if known.
  • Strengthens protections to ensure that discounted prescription drugs purchased through the federal 340B program benefit the low-income consumers and communities the program was designed to help.
  • Prevents price gouging when patients get care from a provider who is not in their network. Specifically, the governor is proposing to limit out-of-network costs for inpatient and outpatient hospital services to 100% of the Medicare rate for the same service in the same geographic area.
  • Outlaws the use of anti-competitive contracting practices that have been used by health systems to impede competition and increase prices. This will provide health insurers with additional bargaining power to make it easier to negotiate affordable prices for consumers.



Mascot Madness in Region 20


Last week I noted that Region 20 (the new regional school formed through the merger of Litchfield and Region 6), was holding it’s own “Mascot Madness” tournament to pick a new mascot.  Last weekend a record-breaking 1,100+ votes were cast, resulting in these Final Four animals for the Region 20 Mascot:


Northeast Bracket

Wolves vs. Hawks


Southwest Bracket

Bobcats vs. Mountain Lions


In honor of this exciting event, White Memorial is offering free admission to their museum for all Region 20 town residents through April 7th. Additionally, students will have an opportunity for a $1,000 scholarship by trying to pick the correct percentage for the winning mascot.  


Voting ran through this past weekend, and the official winner of Mascot Madness will be announced on Monday, April 3, 2023, at 7:00 pm in the first part of the Region 6 Board of Education meeting.  


All are welcome to attend in person at the Warren School or online, using the following link:


Princess & Superhero benefit at Marvelwood School for the Make-a-Wish Foundation on Sunday, April 30

Goshen Players present The Marvelous Wonderettes starting April 29

It is my honor to represent our district. I look forward to hearing from you about the issues raised in this newsletter, or any other topics you think I should know about. You can email me at or call me at (860)-240-8585. Thanks for reading, and I wish you a safe weekend.

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Maria Horn

State Representative


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