State Health Care Advocate on Where We Live | Connecticut Public Radio

State Health Care Advocate on Where We Live

Dec 14, 2011

As the U-S Supreme Court prepares to test the constitutionality of President Obama's signature health care reform law, state officials across the country are trying to figure out the best ways to implement it -- even if they don't think it's the best option out there.  Victoria Veltri is Connecticut's health care advocate.  As the state gears up for the introduction of its private health insurance exchange, where those without insurance can buy it, Veltri told WNPR's Where We Live that she'd like to see something totally different.  A public health insurance plan.

Dankosky: Do you believe that we would work better as a single-payer healthcare system? Veltri: So my personal belief is yes.  I do believe that, yes.  I know that that's controversial for a lot of people. Dankosky: That may put you in a little bit of a difficult position politically or whatever else. I'm just wondering how you feel about that political part of your job. Veltri: Yeah, I would say that probably every night I think about this.  The position is about consumers, what is best for consumers, and I don't have any doubt in my mind that what is best for consumers is to pursue a public option.  

But Veltri says that's not likely at the federal level, because it won't get bipartisan -- or even presidential -- support.  She says it's also not likely here in Connecticut, where the insurance industry is King.   "We do not want to necessarily alienate some very strong businesses that are in our state.  We've probably done a little, in my opinion, too much bending towards accommodating the insurance interests, but that was also the decision made in Washington DC." Veltri says one way to improve the way health care and insurers interact may be to change the way we pay doctors.  "The way we pay providers now is really driven by volume.   Do we want to redesign that so we can ensure quality outcomes and not put so much pressure on the providers to have to rush through patients?"