A Real Public Option In Connecticut?

And so it would seem.

The other day for an open thread at ePluribus Media I commented on "the intended public option that should be Sustinet in Connecticut," and it would seem that is to be the case if the Sustinet Health Partnership Board of Directors get their way according to the report they handed in to the Connecticut General Assembly. Jon Walker has the key report paragraphs at FDL and summerizes it all too well, as anyone that has followed Healthcare reform closely would be aware of these realities:

Connecticut Informed That Private Insurance Exchanges Are Bad Deals for Consumers, Taxpayers


This report demonstrates what a horrible deal the system of subsidized, loosely-regulated private health insurance exchanges is for both the uninsured and the taxpayers. Using a public health insurance program, the state of Connecticut will be able to provide low income Americans a higher level of coverage at lower personal cost and it will still have a lower overall price tag for the government.

The only entities for whom the design of private exchanges is a good deal are the drug companies, hospitals, and private insurance companies. The exchanges assure customers for the unnecessary private insurance middlemen. Loose regulation of the exchanges prevents the government from using the market power of a large pool to negotiate with the drug companies and hospitals for lower prices, and so they get higher reimbursement fees.

It seems like they might as well being making the argument for a "Medicare for All!" solution but even as only a Public Option it would force the private insurers into an honest battle for customer base, IMHO, much like the Swiss model which is leaps and bounds better than the American model we are trying to reform.

Anyways, maybe we will have a real horse race to compare models of healthcare reform?

State Healthcare Reform Horse Race


As we mark the passing of the latest phase of health reform laws implemented on January 1st (scroll the comments there and you will see some interesting comments pointing to what I mean about cost controls and other issues, OK?), the six states Politico suggests following are Alaska, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and Wisconsin for various reasons ranging from the most resistant to reform in Alaska, to the intended public option that should be Sustinet in Connecticut, and all the way over to the Single Payer movement in Vermont. I would not count Single Payer as out of the question in California, either, though there is no mention of that large movement behind it.


Jolly Roger said...

It is a pity that we only had corporatists to "choose" from in 2008. We wanted a Roosevelt, and we got something akin to a Gorbachev-as in, he is so afraid of pissing off the oligarchs that he's hamstrung when it comes to doing what is right.

Oh well.... his new pals will help him out with not doing the right thing.

Connecticut Man1 said...

Actually, this legislation did finally get around ERISA laws so the insurance corporations do not have a monopoly any longer. Healthcare reform out of DC can be horrible and corporatist if the state picks that route. Connecticut may not be doing that if they make a real Public Option available. Vermont is going Single Payer. So that won't be a corporatist reform.

But everything was basically dumped on the state so a lot of states will be sucking completely with the "reform" they see. Which was partially the point of the post.

They should have just short cut to the best answers but they did not. Which was kind of spineless. Now we have to fight for the right things in 50 states.

Aikuisiän Akne said...

I dont know if Alaska will go for that..

Connecticut Man1 said...

I don't know how the people of Alaska feel about it, though I could go to Mudflats and a few other Blogs and newspapers to see, but the government and key leadership in Alaska has turned down all kinds of funding to implement any kind of reform. So I speak to the reality that they are the most resistant to reform as they are doing little, at this point, to fix any of the problems that every state has.

Connecticut Man1 said...

Aikuisiän Akne: I just wanted to clarify what I was saying about Alaska, since you were not clear about what you think Alaska would not go for.

Politico's summary of Alaska's resistance to reform:


"Alaska – With Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty no longer in office, Alaska’s Gov. Sean Parnell arguably snatches the title for most aggressive, anti-health-reform governor. He has regularly rejected grant opportunities pursued by the vast majority of states; Alaska was one of two states not to pursue an exchange planning grant, one of five that turned down an opportunity for increased rate review funding.

“My sense is the individual state agencies are tracking the requirements of the law and implementing those requirements,” says Deborah Erickson, executive director of the Alaska Health Care Commission, a state agency created by Gov. Sarah Palin. “Beyond that, there are so many, essentially new programs that I don’t think Governor Parnell will be pursuing.”

Alaska could emerge as a key state to watch to understand how HHS will deal with an adamantly opposed state.

With so much uncertainty surrounding federal reform’s fate in Alaska, Erickson’s group will steer clear of making implementation recommendations. When they issue a report on health reform in Alaska on January 15 it will only go as far as to summarize what has been done and what deadlines loom in the future."


IOW: They aren't preparing for much of anything and have turned down money they will need to implement reforms. They are just documenting it.

Whether or not they have alternate plans? Like how Vermont is setting the table for single payer, now, or whatever they might choose to do? Remains to be seen. But they are the most resistant to healtchare reform that was passed in DC.