Lamont proposals to cut CT medical costs praised by debt-relief firm CEO
The General Assembly is working to pass a new two-year budget before the end of the current session on June 7. Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont has two budget proposals being discussed in the legislature that would use $20 million in federal pandemic aid to lower healthcare costs and eliminate medical debt for thousands of Connecticut residents.
Medical debt in the United States is an approximately $150 billion problem that impacts one-in-four Americans, said Mike Waterbury, CEO of the medical-debt-relief firm Goodroot.
"One of the things that's really been a trend in the last, say, 10 years, is it's impacting people not only who don't have insurance, but definitely ones that do as well,” Waterbury said.
Waterbury said he likes what Lamont has proposed to give Connecticut residents some medical debt relief, but said it is a stop-gap, not a full solution.
“The key from where we sit is, let's analyze what caused it (medical debt) in the first place,” Waterbury said, “and do something about those root causes.”
"If we just pay down some debt and ... put a stop in the dam and then it breaks somewhere else, I don't think we'll get to that end point, we're all looking for,” he said.
The Goodroot CEO praised an April debt relief agreement between a nonprofit called RIP Medical Debt and Trinity Health of New England. Together, they agreed to erase almost $33 million in medical debt for 22,000 patients. “It's great work that RIP Medical is doing,” Waterbury said, “and I applaud Trinity for stepping up and trying to come with a solution that works for patients first.”
Firms like RIP Medical Debt and Goodroot identify people in need of medical debt relief, raise money to contribute to pay down some of that debt, and then negotiate with creditors like Trinity Health to lower the debt that is owed.
“Hopefully, we're both helping people get out of debt for health care,” he said.