Proposals like SB 134, HB 7174 and HB 7267 all invite small businesses to join the state employee plan under the Office of the Comptroller, offering a false hope of sustainable, affordable health care coverage when, in fact, the bills are fraught with unintended consequences that Connecticut residents and employers simply cannot afford. Not only will the legislation ultimately restrict consumer choice, the measures will also undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA), add to the state’s unfunded liabilities, and jeopardize one of Connecticut’s largest employment sectors.

Connecticut residents benefit from a well-developed, competitive health insurance market that’s subject to strict regulation and oversight. Our legislative efforts must be focused on strengthening this system, not upending the current marketplace in favor of proposals that would take us down a pathway towards single-payer and severely threaten consumer choice and access. This “end justifies the means” approach puts the health insurance industry and our economy at further risk. And, dismayingly, these bills operate outside the bounds of Department of Insurance regulation.

SB 134, HB 7174 and HB 7267 are each wrong in their own way for Connecticut because they:

  • Pick and choose which elements of the ACA fit the single-payer agenda;
  • Unfairly shift costs to Connecticut residents in the commercial market, making them “pick up the tab” for remaining drug and hospital expenses;
  • Lock entrants into the Comptroller’s system, making termination difficult and confusing;
  • Undermine the $32 million invested annually in the health insurance exchange by offering a competing product under the Office of the Comptroller;
  • Overextend Connecticut’s already ballooning state budget at the same time when the state is struggling to address a $2 billion deficit; and,
  • Undercut the private market by subsidizing Comptroller program rates with taxpayer dollars.

These “public option” proposals are wrong for Connecticut. They threaten the current cost of health insurance for consumers, undermine our largest employment sector, and put our economy in jeopardy by further increasing our unfunded liabilities.

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