The law is based on a proposal from the Universal Health Care Foundation. But whether it will results in universal coverage --- or even a new health care alternative -- remains to be seen.
For now, the law sets up a 9-member board with a very specific charge: design a public insurance plan in Connecticut to compete with private insurers.
Juan Figueroa is president of the Foundation.
"This bill is a bill to ultimately put a public option before the state of Connecticut. And the board of directors is basically charged with figuring out how we do that."
Board members will be appointed by the end of this month. The chairs will be the comptroller -- a stickler for watching costs -- and the state health care advocate, a champion of lower insurance rates. Republicans get to name just three of nine members between gubernatorial and legislative appointments.
By 2011, the board has to recommend ways how to pay for a public plan, and outline just what the benefits will look like. As it's conceived now, anyone could buy in -- regardless of income -- though premiums may be on a sliding scale. It will be available no sooner than 2012.
The board will also be deciding whether to endorse an individual mandate, like in Massachusetts, that would require everyone to have health insurance.
All this still has another legislative hurdle. The actual creation of a public plan will require another vote in the General Assembly.
That's when the sticker shock might hit. Once it's fully up and running, the Universal Health Care Foundation estimates its plan will cost close to a billion dollars -- but the Foundation says it will generate nearly double that in health care savings.