Sweeping changes to Connecticut’s health care delivery and financing system continue to advance even as voters’ uneasiness over the cost of federal health care reform grows, and despite the fact there is no word yet on what the state’s changes—being drawn up by the SustiNet board—will cost.
Some have said the tab for SustiNet’s plans could go as high as $2 billion a year. SustiNet is a state-created board charged with developing a plan for moving Connecticut toward a government-run health care system. The board has until the end of this year to unveil its final plan.
Meeting throughout the year to brainstorm how to accomplish its task, the board is expected to recommend that SustiNet become a sort of state-run health insurance public option offered under the new federally mandated health insurance exchanges.
Congress debated the public option idea, however, and rejected it—precisely because of its controversial push toward a fully government-controlled health care system and anticipated high cost. And even though Congress passed health care reform without the public option, most voters are still unhappy with the federal law as its cost estimates grow.
In fact, according to Rasmussen Reports, every week since the legislation was passed in March of this year a majority of American voters have favored repealing the federal health care law. According to the latest survey, 53% of U.S. voters want the law repealed.
But that hasn’t slowed the pace of the SustiNet board. It has continued to consider and develop strategies to set up government-run health care in Connecticut.
Voters’ uneasiness with the cost and scope of government-run health care doesn’t seem to matter to the board. In fact, the SustiNet board isn’t scheduled to even consider how much its public option will cost until one month prior to its reporting deadline.
Creating a massive plan without pricing it, and then only at the last moment before voting on it, is a strategy that every business and individual knows is a prescription for trouble. It’s also out of place during a time of great economic distress and huge state budget deficits.
Perhaps the majority of the SustiNet board will understand the flaw in its strategy and figure the cost of such a significant health care change. Hopefully board members will understand, as did Congress, that listening to the will of the electorate before moving ahead with big policy changes is a better idea.