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.
"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.