Tuesday’s torrential rain stopped just moments before a couple hundred people gathered one last time at the state Capitol to ask Republican Gov. M. Jodi Rell to sign two health care reform bills.
Rell has until midnight Wednesday to sign or veto the two bills which advocates say will improve the delivery of health care and access to affordable health insurance. With more than 24 hours left to go one of Rell’s spokesmen said there was not going to be any comment on the rally or the bills.
Advocates who have been holding daily vigils outside the governor’s office were left at Tuesday’s rally to wait and see what she will decide. Meanwhile, they spent an hour on one last pitch.
“Passage of the two bills together will put the insurance capital of the country front and center of the national push for health care reform,” Juan Figueroa, president of Universal Health Care Foundation, said Tuesday. “We’re here today because we can’t wait.”
“We need a solution to the higher and higher deductibles. We need a solution to the higher and higher co-pays. A solution to those nasty exclusions by way of pre-existing condition,” Figueroa said as the crowd burst into a chant of “We can’t wait.”
One bill would allow small businesses, nonprofits, and municipal employees join the state employees health insurance pool. The other bill called SustiNet would 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.
Speaker of the House Chris Donovan’s Healthcare Partnership bill, also known as the pooling bill, passed 109 to 36 in the House and 21 to 12 in the Senate. The stripped down version of the SustiNet bill passed 107 to 35 in the House and 23 to 12 in the Senate. The margin of legislative support is wide enough that if Democratic leadership in the General Assembly wanted to override a gubernatorial veto, it could.
Linda St. Peter, president of the Connecticut Association of Realtors said that her clients, each in their own way, often tell her that “Connecticut can’t wait for health care that we can all count on.” While they may not always use those exact words, St. Peter said at it’s core it means “peace of mind, better health, economic security for all of Connecticut.”