2021 Legislative Session

Health Equity Solutions’ 2021 policy priorities are steps toward health equity in Connecticut. The inequities in our state are not new and it’s time that we implement proven pathways to addressing them. The pandemic’s disproportionate toll on people of color and the outcry to dismantle racism in Connecticut and across our nation highlight the need to act now.

These priorities were informed by 8 listening sessions across Connecticut, with a total of 92 participants from 37 towns/cities. Community-informed policies are crucial if we aim to address community needs and avoid unintended consequences. Communities must have opportunities to voice their concerns and decide which policies should shape their experiences.

Please please reach out with your thoughts, questions, and input.

To promote equity in healthcare access and affordability, HES proposes:

  1. Restoring the HUSKY A eligibility limit for parents to 201% of the federal poverty level
  2. Centering equity in private health insurance proposals, including public option concepts and other insurance reforms
  3. Solidifying equity-focused telehealth by ensuring long-term extensions of telehealth address the digital divide and meet the needs of people of color

To address barriers to health, HES proposes:

  1. Supporting pathways to sustainable reimbursement for community health workers and doulas
  2. Tying community benefit spending to needs identified by communities through stronger state requirements

To target health disparities and racism, HES proposes:

  1. Embedding health equity in all policies—a cross-sector approach to health policy
  2. Acknowledging, at all levels of government, that racism is a public health crisis
  3. Standardizing the collection and reporting of race, ethnicity, and language data so that we can evaluate inequities in our state’s programs and practices and monitor efforts to address these
Thank you for your support this legislative session! Your advocacy was essential and, together, we ARE making a difference.
The 2021 legislative session came to a close on June 9th with special sessions to pass budget-related bills quickly following. Here are the health equity highlights:
Bills that passed:
Anti-racist policymaking: S.B. 1 declares racism a public health crisis in Connecticut, creates a cross-sector Commission on Racial Equity in Public Health, tasks this Commission with creating a strategic plan for addressing health equity, defines the doula profession, creates a doula scope of practice review, and standardizes the way the state collects race, ethnicity, and language (REL) data…among other important provisions. Governor Lamont signed the bill into law; Public Act 21-35.
Health care:
  • H.B. 6687 creates access to HUSKY for children up to age 8 and pregnant people regardless of immigration status.
  • S.B. 1202 (the budget implementer) expanded HUSKY postpartum coverage to 12 months and created a program to establish no-cost enrollment in AccessHealth CT with access to HUSKY dental and transportation services for adults in households earning under 175% of the federal poverty level.
  • S.B. 1004 allows dependent children to stay on their parents’ vision and dental insurance until age 26.
  • H.B. 5596 and  H.B. 6470 continue coverage of telehealth services in the state. Neither studies the equity impact of these services.
  • H.B. 6442 expands broadband infrastructure but does not address affordability.
Budget highlights:
  • Funds community action agencies to hire community health workers
  • Funds the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities to oversee a study of equity in government programs and actions and make related recommendations
  • Removes the child cap from TANF (cash assistance)  
  • Please note that the distribution of some federal funding will be voted on soon
Bills that did not pass:
  • H.B. 6550 would have strengthened the state’s community benefits programs, which are administered by nonprofit hospitals.
  • HUSKY expansion (considered in several bills) was replaced by the health care provisions in S.B. 1002. Once more information is available, we can offer a health equity analysis of these.
THANK YOU! Your calls, emails, actions, insights, and showing up are what make policy change happen.
Don’t forget to thank  your legislators for their votes on issues that matter to you!