Last week, Gov. Ned Lamont signed two executive orders that establish health care cost growth and quality benchmarks and require more transparency of Medicaid costs and quality. The benchmarks are similar to ones Massachusetts implemented, which has helped Bay State consumers avoid more than $5 billion in costs since 2013.
“Gov. Lamont’s initiative directly addresses the high costs of health care that are driving up premium rates and consumers’ out of pocket exposure,” observed Trish Riley, executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy. “Connecticut joins Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Delaware in launching this comprehensive approach to limit the growth of health care costs in the states and is well positioned to lead given the expertise and focus in the Office of Health Strategy.”
While Connecticut ranks sixth nationwide in health care quality, its costs are high, also ranking sixth across the country. Over the past 15 years, families saw the cost of health care rise by 77 percent, while median wages rose only 21 percent. The governor’s two executive orders are designed to accomplish the following.
Executive Order No. 5 directs the Office of Health Strategy (OHS) to:
- Develop annual cost growth benchmarks by December 2020 for calendar years 2021-2025;
- Establish targets for increased primary care spending to reach 10 percent of total health care spending by 2025;
- Develop quality benchmarks for all public and private payers beginning in 2022;
- Monitor and report annually on health care spending growth across public and private payers;
- Convene a cost benchmark technical advisory team within 30 days; and
- Monitor accountable care organizations and the adoption of alternative payment models.
Executive Order No. 6 directs Department of Social Services (DSS) to convene an advisory board to bolster efforts to control Medicaid costs – which account for more than 20 percent of state expenditures – and increase quality of care standards and reduce disparities. DSS must:
- Develop a transparency strategy for Medicaid cost and quality by December 2020 that examines its performance over time and compares it to other state Medicaid programs, and
- Convene an advisory board to provide input to the agency on reporting content and goals.
The executive orders precede the upcoming 2020 legislative session, during which the governor and state legislators are expected to submit additional bills addressing health care costs.