For this tenth anniversary celebration, I asked some very wise and accomplished people two questions - how health care in CT has changed in the last ten years and what they hope will happen in the next ten. As the editor of the questions, I gave myself a longer deadline than I gave them. So I cheated, I read their answers before I had to write mine. But getting by with a little help from our friends has gotten us to this point, to our tenth anniversary.
It’s interesting how little and how much has changed. Ten years ago, families worried that they wouldn't be able to afford the care their loved ones needed, employers struggled with providing benefits to workers, policymakers looked for ways to stem skyrocketing costs while maintaining quality standards, and everyone knew we couldn't sustain any of it. Unfortunately, the calls we get to our helpline from consumers now are not very different than the ones we got ten years ago.
About ten years ago I met with a State Senator at her lovely home. We sat down to iced tea in her large back yard looking over her beautiful garden. She started the conversation with, "You aren't one of those universal health care nuts are you?" My answer was, "I guess I am. Universal health care - everyone gets health care. You're against that, Senator?" A pause and she answered, "No, of course not . . . but . . . ", then we started discussing how to do it.
When we started the Project, universal health care was the butt of jokes; now we are having detailed conversations, at both the state and federal level, about how to do it. It's been a pleasure and an honor to be part of that discussion.
The thank yous to all the people who've made the last ten years possible would take pages and pages. I am left remembering the students, volunteers, interns, board members, collaborators, and staff, past and present, who get the credit for our longevity. A former staffer noted, as I was asking for yet another favor, that you never really leave the CT Health Policy Project. Advocacy is hard; it's not an easy choice. But for those who've made the journey with us, thank you for everything you do, for your support, and for sharing the fun.
To answer my second question, my hope for the future is that everyone in Connecticut gets the affordable, quality health care they need, and that I am not writing one of these letters ten years from now.
Ellen Andrews, PhD