Donovan Pushes Insurance Reforms: Health Care Partnership Can Save City $1 Million In Insurance Costs
Health Care “Partnership” legislation that can reduce costs and open the state’s health insurance plan to cities, towns and small businesses is back on the front burner in the Connecticut General Assembly. Proponents says a “partnership” law would enable New Britain to save close to $1 million in health premium costs while delivering high-quality coverage for employees. The reform opposed by insurance lobbyists. More than 20 states have adopted a partnership or “pooling” law, including Massachusetts where towns have experienced double-digit percentage decreases in their premium costs.
The bill, touted over the last three years by House Speaker Chris Donovan (D-84), was stymied by Governor Rell’s veto pen twice. Chances of enactment this year are greatly enhanced with Democrat Dannel Malloy taking office. The New Britain legislative delegation stands strongly behind the health care reforms.
In a message last week, Donovan cited the advantages of the legislation which adds no expenses but restructures the way local governments and small businesses can pay for and provide health insurance:
Last year, we passed PA 10-131, which permitted municipalities to purchase prescription drug coverage through the state plan. Already the City of Hartford expects to save $1.8 million in annual employee prescription drug costs by coming into the pool. The addition of Hartford employees to the state’s plan would also result in a savings of $6 million per year for the state. As the pool grows, so will the savings.
Donovan pointed to three components of the reforms now moving through legislative committees:
* Reintroduction of the Healthcare Partnership bill (HB 6308) that would permit municipalities, non-profits and small businesses to purchase employee health insurance through the state employee plan;
* Implementation of SustiNet (HB 6305) which will maximize the potential of federal reform, spend state healthcare dollars more efficiently, improve quality, and offer employees and families a new health insurance choice that reforms healthcare delivery and slows cost growth throughout the entire insurance market;
* A State Prescription Drug Purchasing bill (HB 6322) that would enable the Comptrollers Office to amend its existing prescription drug purchasing contract to include the Medicaid, Husky, ConnPACE and Charter Oak programs.
In his statement Donovan tied the health care bills to promoting jobs and economic recovery:
The financial challenges of the last few years have taught us that healthcare is an economic issue—for individuals, municipalities and for businesses large and small. Access to affordable healthcare can mean choosing to become an entrepreneur, the difference of hiring an employee or being able to retain experienced employees and provide quality services.
Gerratana, Sanchez Get Committee Assignments
New Britain’s new legislators elected in a February 22nd special election experienced their first full week of the 2011 session last week and filled seats on key committees.
State Senator Terry Gerratana (D-6) was appointed Senate Chair of the Public Health and Children’s committees. She will also serve on the Judiciary and Regulations Review committee.
The link to Gerratana at the Capitol is http://www.senatedems.ct.gov/Gerratana.html
State Representative Bobby Sanchez (D-25) was appointed to the Education, Finance, Revenue and Bonding and Insurance and Real Estate committees.
The link to Sanchez at the Capitol is http://www.housedems.ct.gov/Sanchez/index.asp
Scenes From Special Election Night
More photos from Election Night may be found at New Britain Dems’ Facebook page
Catholic Dems Condemn Walker, Other GOP Governors
The groundswell against the actions of Wisconsin’s Governor to deny public employees collective bargaining rights is gaining strength and allies among religious groups and the social justice teachings of the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Democrats organization issued the following statement last week:
The union-busting legislation of the new Republican Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker, has dominated the headlines for several weeks now. By his own words, the Jesuit-educated Walker has acknowledged a hidden agenda, to diminish the collective bargaining rights of teachers, nurses, snowplow drivers and other state workers, with the ultimate intent of breaking the union. This former county commissioner, in a now notorious prank interview, compared himself to Ronald Reagan and said, “This is our moment, this is our time to change the course of history. Walker’s “moment in history” – paralleling actions taken by Republican governors in other states – marks the beginning of an ambitious movement to systematically dismantle a century of social progress. As social justice Catholics, we must respond to all those who trample these American values, borne out of the Catholic Social Tradition. The right of labor to organize – and collectively bargain – is a foundational principal of Catholic Social Justice, first enshrined in Pope Leo XIII’s 1891 encyclical, Rerum Novarum. It has been further developed and amplified for over a century by popes, bishops and theologians. Most recently, Pope Benedict XVI addressed labor rights in his 2009 encyclical, Caritas in Veritate.”
For more information visit www.catholicdemocrats.org
In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as ‘right-to-work.’ It provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘works.’ Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining… We demand this fraud be stopped….”
The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. 1961