Left to right: Rep. Peggy Sayers, Mayor Dannel Malloy, and Councilwoman RJo WinchStamford Mayor Dannel Malloy is the second Democratic candidate for governor to propose a universal health care plan for the state.His opponent, New Haven Mayor John DeStefano unveiled his plan in April and Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell has remained silent on the health insurance issue.
Malloy said Wednesday that his plan is different from DeStefano’s because it seeks to expand the Medicaid income guidelines and enable the state to receive 50 percent federal reimbursement for administering the program. “Frankly, I’m surprised my Democratic opponent missed this money,” Malloy said. There are 356,000 uninsured workers in the state. Under Malloy’s plan those at 200 percent of the federal poverty level will automatically be enrolled in the Medicaid system, which leaves about 149,000 still uninsured. Malloy said those 149,000 individuals will have several options including buying into the expanded Medicaid program. It would also offer premium assistance to non-Medicaid eligible individuals to help them purchase new or expanded coverage through their employer. DeStefano’s plan would require that all companies provide health care or forfeit any tax breaks. Right now the state hands out $620 million a year in corporate tax breaks. Of that, DeStefano would eliminate $350 million in loopholes, he said; that would pay the $343 million cost of universal coverage. In addition DeStefano’s plan creates a private health insurance one-stop marketplace, from which small businesses, families and individuals would be able to purchase health insurance coverage, thus combining the small business and individual markets to create a large risk pool to open up access. Malloy’s plan is like DeStefano’s because it expands available coverage options. Malloy would open the state employee health insurance pool and work with small employer insurance cooperatives to open their plans to non-group members and work with cooperatives to find innovative ways to expand coverage while reducing costs. But unlike DeStefano’s plan Malloy’s plan does not use private insurance companies and instead the Medicaid program, which has the ability to provide coverage at a cost of about 40 percent below the cost of plans in the private market and is reimbursed by the federal government up to half of the costs.Malloy’s plan would also dedicate cigarette taxes and tobacco settlements toward universal health care programs and public health initiatives.Click here to read Malloy’s plan and hereto read DeStefano’s plan.