For several years I went without healthcare because I couldn’t afford to use it. Between the combination of high insurance premiums, near minimum wage jobs and costly deductibles, health care that that I paid into was still out of reach. I remember vividly from my childhood the same financial strain my mother had in using her insurance. If someone can’t afford to use your insurance, what good is it? When I had the opportunity to review the SustiNet heath plan passed by the state House and Senate, H.B. No. 6600, I was a somewhat disappointed. Seeing as this proposal comes from the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, I had been expecting something more resembling a “single-payer” system; more specifically, a healthcare plan that could be accessed by all and afforded by all.
A “guarantee of access” to high quality coverage is important. Cost control to manage a sustainable program is as well. But what does SustiNet do for the people who will still become permanently indebted just to live? The status quo of someone living vs. someone dying because universal coverage is still out of reach will still exist. “Cheap” is, after all, relative. Is SustiNet “Healthcare we can count on?” Not if every single person can’t afford to buy into it. The health plan proposed in SustiNet will undoubtedly help many people acquire health insurance. However, it still leaves many people effectively without it. If scores of individuals still can’t afford coverage, has a universal right-to-affordable-healthcare standard been fulfilled?