After more than two hours of debate the House by a vote of 107 to 35 passed the SustiNet bill, which proponents say will reform the way health care is delivered in the state of Connecticut.
The bill is a stripped down version of a proposal originally made by the Universal Health Care Foundation in January. It will create a nine-member board of directors, three task forces, and four advisory committees that will make recommendations to the legislature by Jan. 1, 2011. The ultimate goal of the board will be to recommend a health care plan that guarantees every resident in the state has health insurance.
The goal of the board of directors will be to offer a public health insurance option to individuals and businesses through the creation of a massive pool which includes state employees and individuals in state Medicaid programs. The pool would be expanded to uninsured individuals and employers.
Rep. Betsy Ritter, co-chairwoman of the Public Health Committee, said the bill was intended to create a public option to those offered by the private insurance market.
Critics said they’re still concerned that this bill would lead to a state run health insurance program.
“I’m still concerned about where this is headed,” Rep. T.R. Rowe, R-Trumbull, said Wednesday.
Ritter said the voluntary, unpaid board of directors will work with four committees of stakeholders which will advise the board on medical electronic records, medical homes, clinical care guidelines, and preventative care. There will also be three task forces which will make recommendations on preventing obesity, tobacco use, and health care workforce shortages.
The Universal Health Care Foundation’s President Juan Figueroa said in a press release Wednesday that passage of both the pooling bill and SustiNet “reduce costs and increase choice.”
He said the two bills complement each other and put Connecticut ahead of the pack in the race for federal resources.
“As we begin to craft a national health care reform bill, Connecticut’s progress will provide real examples of how important reform is to our nation,” US Rep. Chris Murphy said in a press release.
The bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration.