Within walking distance of the corporate headquarters of
a half dozen of the Titans of the insurance industry, on
Monday afternoon the Connecticut State Legislature delivered
an override of Governor Jodi Rell's veto of the landmark,
comprehensive health care reform legislation, known as the
The most ambitious plan for universal health care in the
country took place outside of Washington, away from the
roving hoards of K Street lobbyists. In the shadow of the
imposing columned facade of the Hartford insurance Company,
and the behemoth home of Aetna, the successful coup de gras
was mounted by the grassroots participation of clergy, small
business, health care providers and labor.
Juan A. Figueroa president of the organization, Universal
Healthcare Foundation of Connecticut, said,
"Under Sustinet we anticipate affordable public
health insurance options starting in 2012. The historic
override is possible because of the courageous leadership
of the state legislature. Connecticut is now positioned on
the national health care reform stage surpassing Massachusetts
with a 'Smart Plan' that will expand coverage and lead us on
the road to better health and health care. "
The Sustinet law mandates the creation of a nine member
committee to be known as the Sustinet Board. The board,
co-chaired by State comptroller Nancy Wyman ( D ) and State
Healthcare Advocate Kevin Lembo, has been created to design
the framework for a plan to provide health insurance to the
state's 300,000 uninsured and to broaden the range of
insurance options available to employers and to individual
The Sustinet Board will have seventeen months to craft a
plan to be brought before the state legislature in January
of 2011. In the event health care reform legislation is
enacted at the federal level the board by law must present
its recommendations within 60 days.
Universal Healthcare Foundation's Juan Figueroa said "The
state will adapt to whatever happens on the federal level.
It's possible that a wide reaching plan on the federal level
would eliminate the need for a state plan."
It is Figueroa's hope that Sustinet will "position
Connecticut to shape national debate on health care reform,
and capture any federal money that becomes available.