Passage of federal health care reform this year overshadowed most activity in the state legislature on health care.

Lawmakers avoided any major proposals and approved only one new insurance mandate in what was a relatively quiet year for health care at the State Capitol.

Because of the federal reform, the board of directors of SustiNet—created by the legislature to determine the future of Connecticut’s health care system—are required to report to the state this month on how they envision federal reform will be implemented here.

Later this year, the SustiNet board will issue its report on its overall health care vision for the state.

With healthcare costs continuing to rise and expectations that the federal reforms could drive costs further, lawmakers correctly stepped back from imposing most new health insurance mandates.

Connecticut already has more than 60 health insurance mandates that, altogether, make health insurance here more expensive and as a result, less affordable for more people.

While only one health insurance mandate passed, many more were being considered by state lawmakers right up to the final hours of the session. The business community continues to work with legislators to make the connection between insurance mandates, higher health care costs and less access to health insurance.

Also died: SB-15, which would have prohibited different co-pays for prescription drugs; and the proposed tax on hospitals, contained in SB-478.

One viable cost-saving proposal, HB-5337, also died. An offspring of the Blue Ribbon Municipal Opportunities Regional Efficiencies (M.O.R.E.) Commission, the measure would have allowed cities and towns in the state to work together to negotiate more cost-effective health insurance benefit levels and premiums.

This would have given a much-needed boost to many municipalities struggling to make ends meet.