Connecticut needs true, commonsense healthcare reform that comes not from giving more control to state government but from strengthening the state’s market-based, employer-sponsored system. Reducing costs, increasing access to health insurance and improving the quality of care are the keys to true reform.

The SustiNet health plan proposal (HB 6305) is not an effort to reduce healthcare costs and provide more affordable, quality healthcare. Instead, it's designed to increase state costs substantially and hand more control of healthcare to an unaccountable state authority through a so-called public option that will compete with, not strengthen, the private-sector market.

Rather than be misled by this proposal, state lawmakers should support Gov. Dannel Malloy’s goals of creating more affordable and accessible health care, improving patient care and outcomes, as well as slowing the growth in healthcare spending

The governor has correctly pointed out that SustiNet is too expensive for, and unaccountable to, Connecticut's taxpayers.

Massive costs

In a recent Hartford Courant op-ed column, officials in Governor Malloy's administration cited the massive costs of SustiNet (between $4 million and $6 million annually to operate, and at least $250 million to $478 million annually for the portions of the bill that have been priced).

They also pointed out that it would be run by an authority with almost accountability to the state or its taxpayers as another reason the plan should be rejected.

“Planning for a better future requires honesty about what we can afford now,” wrote Ben Barnes, secretary of the Office of Policy and Management; and Jeannette DeJesus, deputy commissioner of the state Department of Public Health and the governor's special adviser on health care reform, in the Courant.  

Connecticut’s healthcare reform, they suggested, should support and defer to federal reforms taking place.

Less cost, more accountability

“Through federal health care reform,” wrote Barnes and DeJesus, “Connecticut is already planning for its health insurance exchange, which will be a marketplace for people to shop for affordable, high-quality health insurance. This work is funded by the federal government, and will guide us through these complex decisions over the next few years.”

What Connecticut needs is less government cost and more accountability. In a time of fiscal crisis, SustiNet would give us just the opposite.

We appreciate Gov. Malloy’s honesty in identifying the significant problems with SustiNet while holding true to his goal of real healthcare reform--which he correctly sees federal reform as addressing.

CBIA urges lawmakers to reject HB 6305 as too costly for Connecticut.