Connecticut House Passes ‘Public Option’ Bill

Published August 1, 2009

The Connecticut House of Representatives has passed legislation to create a taxpayer-subsidized public health insurance pool open to all of the state’s residents.

Analysts say the program, called SustiNet, is intended to bring government into competition with the state’s private insurers.

“SustiNet is a big labor-backed plan to compete with private insurers,” said Heath Fahle, policy director at the Yankee Institute. “There are a number of things in the SustiNet plan that are of great concern, including the plan’s effect on the size of government and the role government plays in people’s lives.

“In essence, SustiNet is a multibillion-dollar plan for the state to provide health insurance coverage,” Fahle said. “With the state already short almost $9 billion for the services it is currently responsible for providing, you would be talking dramatic tax increases and a significant expansion in the size of government if this program is to get off the ground.”

“The SustiNet plan is not really a plan,” said state Rep. John Hetherington (R-New Canaan). “It is not likely to help anyone anytime soon. Further, the proposal for an expanded health care pool carries unknown consequences.

“Its proponents on the House floor admitted they had no idea how many people could participate,” Hetherington added. “Since the state will be the ultimate self-insurer covering any losses, the possible impact on the state budget—already deep in the hole—is unknown.”

Krystle Russin ([email protected]) writes from Texas.

For more information …

Connecticut House Bill 6600: