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Connecticut Governor Vetoes Health Care Pooling Reform

Bowing to health insurance industry pressure, Republican Governors in Connecticut and Minnesota vetoed legislation that promised to cut health care costs for municipalities and small businesses and to save taxpayer dollars.  While Connecticut's initiative was more expansive, both legislation would have authorized the pooling of employees in order for employers to wring more affordable rates and better quality coverage out of the insurance industry. 

Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell vetoed HB 5536, the Connecticut Healthcare Partnership, which would have opened the state employee health plan to municipalities, small businesses and non-profits.  Pooling small groups with the state employee plan, which has more than 200,000 members, would have generated significant bargaining power and enabled small employers and municipalites to negotiate better insurance rates.

Paid Sick Days Approved by California Assembly

Last Thursday, the California Assembly approved a bill guaranteeing all workers in the state a minimum number of paid sick days each year, becoming the second legislative chamber in the country to do so following approval in the Connecticut Senate.  Washington, D.C. and San Francisco have enacted paid sick days reform into law locally. 

2008 Session Roundups: Connecticut

Revenue projections which tumbled from an over $200 million surplus to a $60 million plus dollar deficit quickly changed the tone of Connecticut’s short session and forced the Governor and legislative leaders to abandon promises of increased spending and tax refunds.  In the end, the Legislature failed for the first time ever to pass a budget, leaving last year’s two-year spending plan in place.  Mayors and non-profit leaders decried the austere plan, which along with the loss of real estate transfer taxes that sunset in June, will spell serious budget woes for cities and towns, many of whom face a foreclosure crisis as well.

Connecticut Passes First-in-the-Nation Health Care Bill

Early Tuesday morning, the Connecticut Senate joined the House and overwhelmingly adopted HB 5536, the Connecticut Healthcare Partnership.  The legislation will open up the state employee health plan to municipalities, small businesses and non-profits.  Pooling small groups with the state employee plan, which has more than 200,000 members, will generate significant bargaining power and enable small employers and municipalites to negotiate better insurance rates.  As we've written previously, while more than 20 states allow similar pooling of state and municipal workers, Connecticut would be the first to allow small businesses to join the plan at such a large scale.

NATIONAL AND STATE ADVOCATES URGE GOVERNOR RELL TO SIGN FIRST-IN-THE-NATION HEALTH CARE BILL

05/07/2008

Hartford - The Progressive States Network, a national group that tracks state initiatives to achieve quality and affordable health care, lauded the Senate's passage of the Connecticut Healthcare Partnership (HB 5536) and strongly urged Governor Rell to sign the legislation. Connecticut would be the first state to allow small businesses and municipalities to buy into the non-profit group health plan currently provided to state employees - potentially saving local taxpayers millions of dollars and reducing small employer premiums.

Allowing small businesses, non-profits, and municipalities to join the 200,000 members-strong state plan will foster competition among health insurance carriers and give employers, municipalities and working families the clout they need to negotiate a better deal for health insurance.

Leveling the playing field: State should approve health insurance initiative

Everyone knows that individuals and small employers face crushing health insurance costs when they try to buy coverage on their own. But state legislators in Hartford are about to take a simple yet far-reaching step to address the problem. By allowing municipalities and small businesses to buy into the group plan currently provided to state employees, the recently introduced Connecticut Healthcare Partnership would give working families the clout they need to negotiate a better deal for health insurance.

Families USA's State Reports Document Bush's Assault on State Economies and the Consequences of Being Uninsured

Absent a national health care policy, states have found ways to expand the reach of Medicaid by covering more low-income, senior and disabled people and expanding the list of covered services.  Because of state action, 58 million Americans now have health coverage they would not otherwise possess.  To push back on the states, the Bush Administration put forward several new Medicaid regulations last year that, if implemented, will shift the burden and costs to states.  This will result in reduced benefits for millions of Americans unless already cash-strapped states find some way to pick up the slack - to the tune of $50 billion over five years.

Connecticut House Approves Healthcare Partnership

On Wednesday night, the Connecticut House passed a simple, yet far-reaching bill to offer small businesses and municipalities better, more affordable health insurance.  The Connecticut Healthcare Partnership, HB 5536, allows small businesses and municipalities to join the state employee health insurance plan.  This is significant because small employers, towns, employees and their families will be able to join forces with and benefit from the bargaining power of the 200,000 member-strong state employee pool.

Connecticut takes bold step toward health care for all

Hartford - Tonight, in a 102 to 43 vote, the Connecticut House of Representatives approved legislation that would dramatically reduce health insurance costs for tens of thousands of Connecticut residents by allowing them to buy into the group plan currently provided to state employees.

By allowing small businesses, non-profits, and municipalities to join the 200,000 members-strong state plan, the Connecticut Healthcare Partnership would foster competition among health insurance carriers and enable employers to access extensive benefits with lower premiums, deductibles and co-pays for their employees.