Rell Vetoes Health Care Bills

No surprise here, Gov. Rell has vetoed two much-touted health care reform bills today. One of the two bills would established a commission to study a public health care option, and the other would have expanded the statewide health insurance pool to municipal workers, nonprofits and small businesses.

Rell said the first bill was too “limiting,” and promptly established her own commission to study health care–but with a much vaguer mission. She condemned the second bill as too expensive.

The response from proponents of the reforms was instant and furious. Dan Malloy’s campaign sent out a release titled: “What were you thinking?” in which Malloy questioned just who, exactly, was advising the governor on health care matters. Juan Figueroa of the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut called the vetoes “[A] slap in the face to thousands of small businesses and every person in this state who cannot wait for quality, affordable health care.” Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz called it “[A] huge missed opportunity for our state,” and urged the legislature to override the vetoes.

Will the legislature override Rell’s veto? Well, the original bills passed the House 109-36, and passed the Senate 21-12 and 23-12. It’s possible, if Democrats can hold together.

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9 responses to “Rell Vetoes Health Care Bills

  1. More great vetoes by the Governor!

    I see you quoted the the Democrats Chris, why didn’t you quote the Governor as well? Your partisan side is showing through once again.

    Here are some of the Governor’s quotes:

    “These are well-intentioned bills that seek to address critically important issues, but they ultimately fail to resolve the central problems of access and affordability,” Governor Rell said. “These bills also raise serious fiscal concerns that – in a time of record budget deficits, record unemployment and record business closures – simply cannot be ignored. These two bills would cost billions of dollars before any economic recovery is complete.”

    “At the same time, there are daily developments in Washington that have the potential to make extraordinary and fundamental changes in the way health care coverage is provided in our nation,” the Governor said. “Because – like the proponents of these bills – I believe these issues must be worked out for the benefit of all our residents, I am creating a broad-based panel to develop policies ensuring Connecticut is ready to make the most of the developments at the federal level.”

    More from her press release:

    House Bill 6582, An Act Establishing the Connecticut Healthcare Partnership

    This bill seeks to attract a number of new employee groups to the state employee plan – nearly all of whom already have health insurance, some of whom will be unable to afford the cost of the plan and all of whom may jeopardize the favorable ratings and costs of the current state plan. Given that the plan – which covers approximately 98,000 active and retired state employees and their 97,000 dependents – is financially supported by state taxpayers and insures, those are risks the state cannot afford to take, Governor Rell said.

    In particular, the Governor noted concerns raised when similar legislation was considered that would have opened the federal employee plan to other groups. The U.S. Congressional Budget Office said groups with higher medical costs would be attracted to the plan, driving up rates for all members while driving down overall membership.

    Governor Rell also noted that while the state currently has agreements for health care coverage in place through July 2011 that guarantee effective cost containment, including premium caps, the bill calls for switching to a self-insured plan that could result in an additional cost of at least $69 million for 2010 alone. Nor does the bill establish any reserves, while self-insured plans commonly establish a reserve of approximately two months’ worth of anticipated claims.

    House Bill 6600, An Act Concerning the Establishment of the SustiNet Plan

    This bill would have established a nine-member Board of Directors to make recommendations for implementing the SustiNet Plan – but would not have given the board any other option, including the ability to suggest that the plan would be too expensive or unworkable in light of potential federal reforms.

    “Limiting the board of directors to a specific approach is particularly unwise at this time,” Governor Rell said, noting the discussions under way in Congress.

    Moreover, the Office of Policy and Management has estimated that the SustiNet plan will likely cost approximately $1 billion per year. The nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis has estimated the cost of allowing all uninsured adults with incomes less than 300 percent of the federal poverty limit (FPL) into HUSKY A or B, as provided in this bill, at $530 million.

    “As staggering as this figure is, it does not reflect the costs for those with insurance whose employers would be encouraged to drop their plans, which could easily double this cost,” Governor Rell noted.

    The Governor also expressed concern that the unelected Board of Directors would potentially have broad authority over billions of dollars in state, federal and private health care expenditures. Nor would that board have any representatives from health insurance industry, the hospital industry or the business community.

    “The authority to establish public policy of this nature, given its broad implications, should be retained by the legislative and executive branches and not delegated to an authority to determine at some future time,” Governor Rell said.

  2. BristolDem

    More great vetoes by the Governor!

    Nope.

    “As staggering as this figure is, it does not reflect the costs for those with insurance whose employers would be encouraged to drop their plans, which could easily double this cost,” Governor Rell noted.

    Typical Jodi, missing the boat entirely. The point of the bills was to help out those without healthcare. Instead, she brings up people who have healthcare.

    It’s idiots like her and Brenda (calling Ghengis biased simply because he doesn’t include a press release=idiotic) who don’t want to fix the broken system. I’ve got great coverage at work, but I don’t want this to be a selfish issue. I actually DO care about the plight of others without it. Probably because I’ve been there.

    People like Jodi Rell…they’ve never had to work with it. They just want to sit on their hands and do nothing.

    They have no ambition to improve anything. But since none of them have had to deal with the broken system we have, they wouldn’t know. They don’t get it.

    Or, worse yet, they have dealt with it and think everything’s fine. That just makes them stupid.

    Ignorant or stupid, which shall it be?

  3. BristolDem

    Even better, she based her veto on the fiscal note attached to Sustinet. Problem is, the Democrats removed the fiscal note from the bill.

    So she clearly did not read the bill. Disgusting.

  4. People like Jodi Rell…they’ve never had to work with it. They just want to sit on their hands and do nothing.

    That’s right. That’s why there’s Charter Oak, providing health insurance to 10,000 people who didn’t have it before — because Jodi Rell just doesn’t give a shit. Of course, she’s had so much help from good people like Sheldon Taubman, Jonathan Harris, Ellen Andrews, Toni Harp … all of whom have been right there beside her, fighting tooth and nail to make sure Charter Oak was a success.

    Even better, she based her veto on the fiscal note attached to Sustinet. Problem is, the Democrats removed the fiscal note from the bill.

    Oh, great — they removed the fiscal note! Is that how you make it work? Then I guess SustiNet won’t cost anything! Christ, if people knew it was that easy to eliminate the costs of legislation, we could fix everything!!

    Ignorant or stupid, which shall it be?

    Hell, I don’t know. From where I’m sitting, the Democrats and the universal healthcare wingnuts — and your defense of them — have the waterfront covered.

  5. Typical Jodi, missing the boat entirely. The point of the bills was to help out those without health insurance. Instead, she brings up people who have health insurance.

    Fixed.

  6. BristolDem, there is no need for name calling.

    On the other hand, your illogical reasoning and rants here certainly cause others to question your level of intelligence and obvious intolerance with those who disagree with you.

    That’s unfortunate.

    You also have a reading comprehension problem, I didn’t call Chris “biased.” Why do you feel the need to lie? Chris included quotes from press releases from a host of Democrats yet nothing from the Governor or any Republicans. That is indeed partisan and violates the simplest rules of journalism.

  7. Typical Jodi, missing the boat entirely. The point of the bills was to help out those without healthcare. Instead, she brings up people who have healthcare.

    The point of these bills was to make health insurance more affordable for small business and municipalities. I run a small business and pay the bulk of the insurance costs for my 30 or so employees. Trust me, it’s not cheap, and I would welcome an alternative to what’s available now.
    However, the one aspect of this bill that gets under reported and under appreciated as to its complexity, is the fact that this pool would self insured. I’ve seen nothing in the bill that insulates this plan from politics. This self insurance pool would be created by the same folks that currently have dug us into a hole with some $35 Billion in unfunded liabilities.
    If it were available, I would have to be convinced that the premiums being offered were sound from an actuarial standpoint, and not low balled to get it started only to find out you’re locked into some black hole when in 3 or 4 years.
    Self insurance requires fiscal discipline and intellectual honesty that is not in long supply in State Government. They’ve already proved that, and I ask the proponents to demonstrate what provisions in the legislation guarantee long term sustainabilty.

  8. I’m sure you’re right BristolDem, she didn’t read the bill. Give me a break.

    Sustinet does have a fiscal note, it’s the cost in the out years, you know, like in two years when the state is REALLY in a financial crisis.

    Passing the Sustinet bill when the state is in a potential 8B (or almost 50% of the state budget) defecit is really poor judgement. Especially when the Feds are going to pass one by December anyways.

    Grow up.

  9. I see you quoted the the Democrats Chris, why didn’t you quote the Governor as well? Your partisan side is showing through once again.

    You’re right, Brenda, you didn’t call him biased. You called him partisan.

    My bad.

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