Advocates seek commitment


State Sen. Joe Markley (R-16) speaks during a recent press conference in Hartford. –CONTRIBUTED
State Sen. Joe Markley (R-16) speaks during a recent press conference in Hartford. –CONTRIBUTED

HARTFORD — State Sen. Joe Markley (R-16) called for a renewed commitment recently to improving substance abuse treatment in Connecticut.

“Despite many years of hard work advocating for improvements in our care system, the Governor chose to veto key legislation aimed at closing the gaps that severely impact treatment. Instead of moving forward with efforts to improve access to quality substance abuse care, this veto is a step backwards,” said Markley in a press release.

On May 29, Gov. Dannel Malloy vetoed legislation that would have required managed care organizations and health insurers to report more information on substance abuse treatment to the state Insurance Department, the release stated. The bill received unanimous support in both the Senate and House of Representatives this year, according to the release.

Markley and fellow advocates who supported the bill joined together at the state Capitol on the day of the required veto session to ask legislators to make substance abuse treatment a priority in the next legislative session.

The legislation vetoed was based on recommendations made by the Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee in its report Access to Substance Use Treatment for Insured Youth: Phase I (December 2012) and Phase II (June 2013). These reports concluded, among many findings, that the Connecticut Insurance Department does not sufficiently oversee behavioral health care coverage, check that fully-insured plans comply with all aspects of the federal parity laws, or require fully-insured plans to make initial coverage decisions using practitioners and criteria that would be the most appropriate, according to the release.