FIORELLO’s Solution for CT’s Rising Healthcare Costs:  What price life?

Submitted by Jackie Kaiko, Stamford

Kimberly Fiorello is running for re-election on November 8thHer solution for stemming the rise of healthcare costs in CT could be labelled at best, as not constructive, and, at worst, as inhumane. 

In her Opinion pieces and presentations, Rep. Fiorello has asserted that a main contributor to CT’s rising healthcare costs is the CT General Assembly‘s passage of “mandates” absent formal cost/benefit analyses. (The last was done in 2014.)  Mandates are laws that require insurance companies in CT to provide price relief on certain healthcare services for people enrolled in “Access CT” (the State’s healthcare exchange). Members are individuals, contractors and small business owners who represent 30% of the total number of insured people in the State of CT. 

States across the country have mandated health insurance benefits. They cover types of Preventive and Wellness Services and Chronic Disease Management.  Fiorello has said that legislative healthcare mandates must not be passed in CT without cost/benefit and fiscal impact analyses having been completed, first. Her opposition is consistent with her record of voting against most bills in the House considered this term-whether or not they were good for her constituents.

Here are some of the mandates that have been passed by the CT State legislature. They cover price relief for these services for members of Access CT: 

  • EpiPens– life savers for children with allergies who can get severe allergic reactions, can go into anaphylactic shock and can die. (Peanut allergies in children have nearly tripled in recent years);
  • Enhanced breast cancer screenings.  Mammograms are not effective in screening dense breast tissue for the 40% of all women in the U.S. in this category. This additional test is crucial for detecting cancer. While cancer is the second biggest cancer killer of women, regular, proper screening enables early detection, promotes quality of life and helps prevent early death.
  • Prostate cancer screening and treatment. Prostate cancer is the second biggest killer of men in the U.S.  Timely screening and treatment can enable early detection, can promote quality of life and can prevent early death.
  • Insulin for diabetics- Without proper and timely doses of insulin, diabetics can sustain irreversible damage to their bodies, can go into a diabetic coma and can die.

Fiorello’s solution for controlling the cost of healthcare in CT is to prohibit mandates from being passed absent a review of the dollar cost of certain health services versus the dollar benefit. But how to assess the benefit?  What is the dollar value of keeping a child from dying of anaphylactic shock? Of keeping a woman or a man from suffering or dying from undetected breast or prostate cancer? Of keeping a diabetic from going into a diabetic coma and dying? 

Notably absent from Rep. Fiorello’s rhetoric is how the conclusions of these studies would be used.  If the dollar costs were found to outweigh the dollar “benefits”, would the State of CT then have to make a determination of who should be allowed to live and who should be left to die?

I ask you to please consider Kimberly Fiorello’s voting record, her philosophy and her values. Then please join me in voting for Rachel Khanna for State House District 149.  Rachel will be an effective leader who will work for our best interests, not against them.

Jackie Kaiko, Stamford, CT