It looks like the possibility of a strong, state-based public option in Connecticut has been killed by the state’s top Democrats, lead by Democratic Governor Dannel Malloy. From the CT Mirror:
The Malloy administration and Democratic legislative leaders have reached an agreement on the proposed SustiNet state-run health plan, with a deal that calls for opening the state employee health plan to municipalities and some nonprofits, but not for offering insurance to the public.
The agreement does not call for the state to combine the Medicaid and state employee and retiree health plans into a large pool, as the current legislative proposal does.
If the final deal ends up along lines laid out in this report, it would be an extremely disappointing development.
The SustiNet law, as previously drafted, was a very smart health care reform proposal. It would have first combined everyone for whom the state is currently providing insurance into a single insurance pool. This would have given the plan the large initial foundation it would need to be a viable public insurance plan that small business and individuals would eventually have the option to buy into. The design was probably the most effective way to create a viable, high-quality public option at the state level.
This “deal,” though, of just allowing municipalities to buy into the current state employee plan would totally gut SustiNet and basically turn it into a worthless shell of its former self. This is Gov. Malloy effectively killing SustiNet while being able to pretend he didn’t.
If some form of this deal becomes law, it would unquestionably be a massive victory for the private, for-profit health insurance industry.