Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Malloy Upgrades to Universal Health Care

Dan Malloy today announces his plan to provide universal access to health care for Connecticut citizens. You can read his full plan on the Malloy for Governor website.

The plan is very similar to an earlier proposal by rival John DeStefano. Malloy initially planned to grant universal health care access only to children, but has since, perhaps spurred by DeStefano's plan, broadened the scope of the plan to include everyone.

The ultimate goals of the two plans are the same: universal access to health care. The differences, as this graphic shows, are mostly in the nuts and bolts.
A key difference between the Malloy and DeStefano plans is how to pay for medical care that has become so expensive some state legislatures have largely avoided even attempting universal coverage.

DeStefano said he can fund the entire $350 million program by closing corporate tax loopholes, an idea Rell's campaign says simply equates to an increase in corporate taxes.
...
By contrast, Malloy will avoid a direct corporate tax increase but said businesses can decide voluntarily to spend up to 1 percent of their payrolls to join the state employee health insurance pool - an idea pushed repeatedly by former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Curry. The idea is that small businesses would have access to lower insurance premiums by buying into a large insurance pool.

Malloy is also calling for Connecticut to raise its cigarette tax by 63 percent - to the same level as neighboring Rhode Island, at $2.46 per pack. ... Malloy's plan says the cigarette increase not only would generate more taxes, but would contribute to improved health.
...
Malloy would cover nearly half of the uninsured simply by expanding Medicaid, making far more people eligible by increasing the income thresholds. As a result, adults earning 200 percent of the federal poverty level - rather than 100 percent - would become eligible for adult coverage, Malloy said.

Rather than expand Medicaid, DeStefano would create the Connecticut HealthCare Consortium as a "one-stop marketplace" for businesses, families, and individuals to purchase health insurance coverage in a large pool.(Keating)

Just how much more can politicians flog the cigarette tax, which essentially is a way for government to take advantage of addicts, to fund their projects? I wasn't fond of Rell's attempts to raise "sin taxes" either. Government shouldn't legislate morality.

That's an aside, however. Both plans are well-intentioned, and would be better than the patchwork system we have now. Unfortunately, neither plan is really a solution. The Malloy plan's funding, which partially comes from cigarette taxes and tobacco settlement money, is on a very shaky foundation, as is DeStefano's. Corporate tax loopholes may be closed, but what if the economy tanks? What if businesses relocate to North Carolina? What if people stop buying as many cigarettes, or the tobacco settlement money dries up?

Yet, both plans are steps in the right direction. They are full of new and innovative ways of providing care and funding the program. Not all may be workable, and many may need a good deal of debate and refinement. However, Gov. Rell has yet to address health care in any meaningful fashion, and the federal government seems stuck in park on issues of concern to the vast majority of Americans. Neither plan is perfect, but it's better than the status quo.

I would like to see the General Assembly debate the merits of a universal health care plan in the 2007 session, no matter who wins the gubernatorial election.

Sources

"Dan Malloy Announces Plan for Universal Health Care in Connecticut." Press Release. Malloy for Governor. 7 June, 2006.

Keating, Christopher. "In Governor's Race, Duel Over Health Care." Hartford Courant 7 June, 2006.

21 comments:

bluecoat said...

Like I keep saying the pols are all about how you pay for it and do little to nothing in talking about lowering the costs of what is bought and paid for by insurance - and 85% of CT citizens have plus the emergency care for all - by going after the poor quality assurance and the over utilization of services as part of that. There is an argument that the butt tax will produce less sickies but that still doesn't address the quality and utilization issues....that nobody has the political will to address or the understanding of the delivery system to do it....

A Real Democrat said...

Might as well say this again here:

At first glance it looks like Malloy's plan is more in depth than DeStefanos (which overall I guess has been par for the course). I like that it addresses health and wellness in general, because without a focus on improving general health the costs will never go down. It also seems to have a more concrete method of payment... some won't like the cigarette tax but DeStefano's promise to "close loopholes" didn't really win me over.

Genghis you say that both plans are funded on shaky ground, but I would argue Malloy deserves credit for saying "I will raise this tax by X amount providing X in funding dollars". DeStefano's plan to "close loopholes" tells us basically nothing. Has he laid out exactly what loopholes and how much they will bring in?

Mmmm Jodi Rell said...

Was hoping to be the first to post on this but here goes:

This plan doesn't impress me much - it relies heavily on DeStefano's approach and his funding sources are unreliable at best. Patchwork even. How can you say you're going to rely on cigarette taxes to pay for your plan AND lower the amount of people smoking? Won't your funds dry up?

Dan Malloy will be relying on George W. Bush to help fund his health care plan. . . and if anyone opposes universal health care, its George W. Bush.

bluecoat said...

BTW, Rell won't be out-trmped on this as she has signed up Mickey Herbert of Bluefish and Physicians Health Services fame. PHS was started up in a little office in Fairfield with newly minted MBA Herbert backed by doctor money - the doctors saw Kaiser and other HMO's moving in and they wanted to control their own destiny and get a piece of the action as well. The company didn't last long; just long enough for the docs to protect their turf and make their dough - survives today as an acquisition by HealthNet - and it never did anything to get costs under control. Herbert's only real entrepeneurial venture was the Bluefish - and the City of Bridgeport propped them up for years until he sold out recently...

Mr. Reality said...

The way Democrats in the legislature cried last year about how the cigarette tax hurt the poor so much I'm suprised Malloy would bring that up. Oh that's right he's not a Republican...

So now I guess the cig tax is a good thing.

You guys are too much!!!

bluecoat said...

BR said on the earlier thread:For me..neither health plan is adaquate. There should be universal healthcare in a sponsored state single payer arrangement...run by the state...and funded by corporate taxes. but for me Medicare is a single payor system and it is extremely expensive notwithstanding the much touted 3% administration costs....so I would need to hear a little more before I cast my vote...I am still trying to hang on to a free market solution with better regulatory stuff to lower costs while improving quality..call me an idealist if you will...

Brian Durand said...

Genghis:

Nice post, as usual.

I just wanted to clarify one thing, you said Dan, "perhaps spurred by DeStefano's plan, broadened the scope of the plan to include everyone."

When Dan released his Every Child Matters Proposal back in January, he very clearly stated that the plan was a step towards universal coverage for everyone, and that a Malloy administration would work towards that goal.

From the release, here:
"Extending health care coverage to all of Connecticut's children is a monumental first step toward providing health care for every Connecticut resident -- which should be the ultimate goal ... A Malloy Administration will work to alleviate this crisis -- we have a moral obligation to do nothing less."

Proposing a Universal Health Care plan was always the next step. This new plan includes Every Child Matters and builds off it, as it was always intended to. It's not a change to it or an upgrade.

bluecoat said...

Nice spin BD...

Mmmm Jodi Rell said...

I feel like Malloy's plan relies too much on Medicare - and part of the problem with Medicare (and HUSKY, here in CT) is that some doctors and specialists won't accept those programs. So expanding those programs beyond their area of impact right now brings the possibility of greater consequences to our already lacking systems of health care.

Goon Squad said...

Uh, Bluecoat, how is Brian Durand's post spin? I think Malloy's quote from January speaks for itself. Malloy said then that covering children was a step towards this end.

I appreciate the fact that Mayor Malloy's plan intends on expanding existing coverage options/availabilty using new revenue streams as funding. He clearly explains these new sources of funding $$$'s - whether you agree with them or not is (i think) not the issue at hand.

Along these same lines, the reason I didnt like Mayor DeStefano's proposal is that it calls for the creation of new state agencies, programs, and committees to oversee the implementation of his program(i.e. - the Connecticut HealthCare Consortium (CHC) as he calls it in his proposal).

If there is one thing this state doesnt need it is a new regulatory commission to oversee a brand new program. Our states history in regards to the conduct of these new advisory committee's is not that glowing.

Lets all try to look past the specifics of the Universal Health Care policy pieces. Let us instead examine the content in a more general fashion.

In the past few months we have come to expect Mayor Malloy's policy proposals to have 3 things - they always go into extreme detail, they usually call for the expansion of a pre-existing successful program, and they specifically say where the funding $$$'s are going to be coming from.

I dont see those same three ideals in Mayor DeStefano's policy proposals.

I think we could/should expect that if either Mayor becomes Governor that they will have the same style in thier official policy that goes to the legislature. Im just much more comfortable with the that way Mayor Malloy goes about his policies - very polished and professional. Im not as comfortable with Mayor DeStefano's policy proposals.

HealthcareNOW said...

MALLOY WANTS DUBYA'S APPROVAL FOR HIS UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE PLAN?!?!

What a pipedream.

How is Malloy's plan more in-depth when he is relying on George W. Bush's approval to get a huge portion of his plan's funding? When a plan depends upon the assumption of future state surpluses, and a nod from King George (who, by the way, will support universal healthcare over his dead body), it is basically fluff forced out of a campaign when it feels like it must put something out because DeStefano's killing them on it.

When the wind blows...Malloy goes...

Mmmm Jodi Rell said...

I'm confused as to what Malloy initiatives go into "great detail." His energy policy is 3 pages long, half of which is his record in Stamford. DeStefano's is over 30 pages long. And I've seen press copies of DeStefano's health care proposal at events, and its over 20 pages. I imagine they don't post the appendix on the website. Don't know why though. Maybe they should switch to PDF.

Rell is going down said...

I definitely remember a quote from Malloy after DeStefano came out with his health care plan in which Dan said universal healthcare was 'unnecessary'. Does anyone remember where I saw this, because I can't find it.

bluecoat said...

I posted this earlier today on another thread but there have been problems with DSS and the HMO's that administer HUSKY and Blumie seems to be the only guy saying something needs to be done and something can be done but as AG he isn't going to say what to do...i.e. he isn't going to make or propose policy...

Wrath of Conn said...

"When the wind blows...Malloy goes..."

This is complete BS.

As was posted, Malloy said in a press release, and elsewhere, that he was for universal coverage, and he did it literally MONTHS before DeStefano did. There is absolutely no way you can claim he is doing this because of anything DeStefano did.

I haven't had a chance to compare plans yet, but I will soon. I really think the tactics of some people on here (lying, personal attacks) are getting really ugly.

Genghis Conn said...

Well, according to a DeStefano press release from April 13th, Malloy said this:

"There are 400,000 people without insurance in the state of Connecticut. The rest of the state has insurance, the idea that we need to replace that system overnight and as a single state, doesn't make any sense to me," says Dannel Malloy, (D) for Governor.

Malloy at that time was concentrating on providing health coverage for children right away, and he made a big deal out of the fact that his plan wouldn't have to wait.

HealthcareNOW said...

Hey Wrath of Conn:

Here's Dan Malloy on WTNH with Mark Davis talking about DeStefano's Connecticut CAN plan:

"There are 400,000 people in the state without insurance, the rest of the state has insurance. The idea that we need to replace the system overnight and as a single state DOESN'T MAKE A LOT OF SENSE TO ME." (4/12/2006)

Months before DeStefano, right? After DeStefano's plan came out it seemed like Malloy thought universal healthcare made no sense.

Who's doing the lying around here?

Spin a little harder next time.

Genghis Conn said...

Then again, Malloy said this in an April 7th email to supporters:

He said, "Today I am calling on Governor Rell to convene a high-level panel of experts -- top legislative leaders, health care experts, workers and members of the business community and others -- to meet with our colleagues in Massachusetts who crafted that plan to see what parts of that plan would work here in Connecticut and to begin working on developing a health care plan for our State. The Massachusetts plan may not be perfect and may not have all the right elements we need in Connecticut, but there is much from that plan and the process they followed that can help us achieve our goal of universal health care."

He also said on January 26:

Malloy added: "Over the years, our health care problems have escalated into a crisis, with little to nothing being done to alleviate them," said Malloy. "Insuring the 71,000 children in our State who currently lack health care coverage is just a starting point, albeit a critical one. The ultimate goal must be to provide coverage to the 300,000 adults who also lack access to affordable health care as well."

bluecoat said...

The notion of "affordable healthcare" to these politicians means that nobody but some entity other than the person who receives it pays for it and understands what it is and what it costs.

Wrath of Conn said...

HealthcareNOW,

I would LOVE to hear how I lied, or even spun this.

Is it not a fact that Malloy said as far back as January that he was for universal coverage? Just look at the posted quotes.

I don't know about the Mark Davis quote, except that I have heard Malloy say he had been asked specifically about a single-payer system and was was responding to that.

I agree it may have been a dumb thing to say, but regardless, we have a clear history of him saying he is FOR universal coverage (before DeStefano even) and now he has a plan of how he will do it, and how he will pay for it.

How is that not enough for you?

Again -- go ahead and like DeStefanos more, but anyone who is trying to paint Malloy as anti-universal health care has an obvious bias and should be called out on it. It angers me when Democrats rip one another apart on this stuff. I do support Malloy, and I will criticize DeStefano at times, but I do not outright lie or misrepresent him. I just don't understand it.

Patricia Rice said...

Why have we not heard anything on the Tomasso investigation? The biggest scandal in the history of our state and only 3 people have gone to jail? How many others were involved and why are we not hearing their names?

I say who's really benefiting from the muted press and law enforcement? Of course, Snow White knows nothing so who is everybody protecting?