The General Assembly passed two major proposals this year, under the banner of health care “reform,” that won’t improve health care or reduce costs but will increase the size and cost of state government.

CBIA is urging Gov. Rell to veto both measures because the measures which fail to provide what the people of Connecticut need most—controlled health care costs and greater access to coverage.

Real health care reform must focus on reducing costs, improving the quality of care and increasing access. Instead, both HB-6600 and HB-6582 advance the cause of more government in health care.

HB-6600 paves the way for the “SustinNet” plan, a massive—and hugely expensive—government-run health care bureaucracy. Although the measure only begins the development of SustiNet, in fact it specifically lays the groundwork to expand the state’s ability to control health care decision-making, and it gives more management authority to state bureaucracy.

While SustiNet is a concept not yet fully vetted and approved by the legislature, it is major step along the way to achieving the long-term goal of many of the bill’s proponents—a single-payer health care system in Connecticut.

HB-6582 will open the expensive state employee health care plan to small businesses and other groups. It will do nothing, however, to help people who don’t have health care gain coverage, nor will it offer anything more attractive to groups that can already purchase less-expensive insurance in the existing private market. HB-6582, on the other hand, will allow the state pool to operate outside of Connecticut’s protective health insurance laws.

Lurking behind the sounds-good rhetoric of both plans is the harsh reality that they would require the state to self-insure all of its public health plans. That would put Connecticut’s general fund and its taxpayers on the hook for at least hundreds of millions of dollars in reserves to cover the medical claims made under these plans. These dollars have not yet been accounted for by proponents.

More mandates
Meanwhile, lawmakers also approved several new health insurance mandates that will cause higher health care costs for everyone by allowing a few people to gain coverage for special treatments or procedures. With eight wrapped together into one proposal (HB-5021) and another separately approved (SB-301), the new mandates will be added to the more than 60 mandated special coverages already in effect in Connecticut—among the highest and costliest totals in the U.S.

Connecticut doesn’t need unaffordable state-run health care schemes and more mandates; it needs real health care reform that will reduce cost, improve quality and increase access.