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State Democrats propose letting all residents buy into state health insurance

The coronavirus has many people thinking about health insurance and how much it costs. State lawmakers are now pitching a cheaper and public option.

News 12 Staff

Nov 12, 2020, 10:55 PM

Updated 1,313 days ago

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The coronavirus has many people thinking about health insurance and how much it costs. State lawmakers are now pitching a cheaper and public option.
The state of Connecticut covers 220,000 state employees. Democrats are floating the idea of letting everyone buy into that plan.
"We had 800,000 people lose their job in the last six months. Many of those people who lost their job also lost their health insurance," said state Sen. Sean Scanlon.
Like Medicare, the insurance could be cheaper because of the state's massive buying power.
"When I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 29, it was the toughest thing I ever had to go through. But the one thing I didn't have to worry about was how to pay for my rent, how to pay for my co-pay or my deductible. Because as a state legislator, I had great health insurance," said state Sen. Matt Lesser.
Connecticut's massive insurance industry says a government plan puts them at a disadvantage.
Connecticut Association of Health Plans Executive Director Susan Halpin says this could make insurance more expensive for everyone else.
"The cost shift is going to be even greater to the private market, so the premiums that you and I pay in the private market currently are going to go up as a result," said Halpin.
Senate Republican leader-elect Kevin Kelly released a statement that said in part, "The Democrat proposal of a public option I fear will not accomplish our shared goal of reducing costs and increasing accessibility and will simultaneously threaten thousands of good paying jobs at a time when Connecticut is last in the country in personal income growth and new jobs."
If the public plan does not make enough money, taxpayers could be on the hook.
Democrats say this year with the pandemic, voters told them it was time to act. They did not lay out a specific plan but suggested a public option will be a key part of their 2021 agenda.


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