This is one of those moments where it feels like immense power is standing in the way of basic human rights and nothing any of us does or says or prays seems to make a difference. Connecticut has a chance this year to make stunning, nation-leading progress on health care reform, but the powers that be are acting as if they could care less.
Governor Malloy has said he does not support the enactment of the State Basic Health Care Program which, at no cost to the state–none, zero, zip, nada–would provide health care coverage to nearly 100,000 people who fall between 133 and 200 % of the federal poverty rate.
The state’s Health Care Exchange Board continues to be grossly lacking in representation from consumer and small business advocates. This is the quasi public agency charged with setting up CT’s insurance exchange under the Federal Health Care reform law.
The Sustinet Cabinet, which came into existence last year to advise the Governor on how the state can take full advantage of the federal health reform law and develop an integrated health care system in CT, seems lackluster, tense, and uninspired–a long way away from the days when the state was seriously considering the creation of a public option in health care.
While our leaders continue on in this anemic fashion, lacking vision and heart, there are still 400,000 people in the state who don’t have access to quality, affordable health care. If the Supreme Court strikes down the federal health care law in June, we will be in even worse shape. The bottom line is this: We aren’t behaving like a society that cares about it’s most vulnerable. We aren’t behaving like a society that prioritizes hard-working families. We aren’t behaving like a society that cares about the health and well-being of all its residents. We aren’t behaving like neighbors.
It may feel like there isn’t much we can do that will make a difference. But those of us who believe health care is a basic human right–not a privilege, not a commodity, not a product, but a right–still have opportunities to make it clear to our leaders that we expect them to lead differently, that we expect our society to behave differently, that we can heed the call to care for our neighbors–all of them!
A great number of organizations (including the Interfaith Fellowship for Universal Health Care on whose Steering Committee I serve) and grassroots activists who believe health care is a basic human right will come to the state capitol on Wednesday, April 25th from 12:30 to 6:00 to participate in a variety of activities and actions designed to send a single, powerful message: We need do better when it comes to health care! We need to put people first! Let’s take back the health care fight on April 25th.
On April 25th, come to room 1B in the Legislative Office Building anytime between 12:30 and 6:00. If you want a free lunch, register at email@example.com or (203) 639-0550.