CTJN staff photo
Today at 11 a.m. Senators Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, (pictured) and Martin Looney, D-New Haven, will unveil the details of their universal health care plan at Hartford Hospital. The duo said this summer that finding a way to insure the 400,000 uninsured in the state would be a priority for them, but until now they have failed to offer any details. What they have said is that unlike the governor’s plan the state will have to spend some money to make it work. Gov. M. Jodi Rell joined the health care debate in December when she proposed a health care plan that relies on health insurance companies to come up with an affordable plan for the public. “We will provide health care to the uninsured in Connecticut without hurting our employers financially and without bankrupting the state as has happened with some of our neighbors,” she said in a press release Wednesday.
Critics of Rell’s plan noted it falls short of a broader vision which aims for portability and lower monthly cost. Rell’s plan would cost $250 per month and people would have to be uninsured for at least six months in order to qualify. This past Monday Democratic freshman legislators proposed starting a trust fund to pay for a universal health care plan. And on Tuesday President George W. Bush proposed a federal income tax reduction in his State of the Union address. According to the Universal Health Care Foundation, Bush’s plan would not help most of the uninsured who are in the 15 percent tax bracket or lower. “It is simply unrealistic to imagine that such a deduction will be effective with uninsured, low-wage workers. Mirroring the nation, most of the uninsured in Connecticut do not earn enough to realize a meaningful benefit. Two-thirds of Connecticut’s uninsured are employed. Many work for small businesses that cannot afford to offer health insurance because of the escalating costs,” the foundation wrote in a press release Wednesday. The foundation said they will lobby for health coverage that includes everyone, is continuous and portable, is affordable to individuals especially those with limited income, is affordable and sustainable to society, and enhances health and well-being.