The legislation that would allow municipalities, small businesses and non-profits to join the state health insurance plan. At a press conference in Hartford Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz was joined by house majority leader Christopher Donovan in a final push for Governor Rell to sign the healthcare bill into law. Small business and nonprofit owners including former U.S. senate candidate Ned Lamont also sought the Governor's support.
John Hopper employs five full time and fifteen part time employees in his small business. He says the bill would help him invest in the growth of his company, allowing him to hire more full time employees. Many small businesses in the state are "tinkering on disaster", he says, because of rising costs
"Thats why literally we had to go to a payroll company in new york state that could give me one provider in Connecticut which was oxford, at a rate that we could somewhat afford but again its still much higher than the types of rates that I'm beginning to hear we could get as part of the state of Connecticut".
Currently hopper pays a premium of $24,000 per year for his family of five. Under the state plan he would pay twelve to thirteen thousand -- and his copay would go from fifty to fifteen dollars.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is urging the Governor to veto the bill, saying it will increase health insurance rates for state employees. But Majority leader Donovan says opening up the pool would actually decrease costs to the state. Already this year, he says, state employees have negotiated a savings of 54 million in health care plus 16 million in prescriptions.
"Heres a savings in our current budget of 70 million dollars. to think that by adding more people and giving us better bargaining power we would lose? The evidence shows otherwise. The evidence shows by pooling we can save dollars."
If passed, Connecticut would join twenty four states who currently have this legislation.