HUSKY, Charter Oak and other session updates

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The General Assembly acted on very few health proposals this year.
Some things that did pass:
HB 5536 — Rep. Donovan’s bill to allow municipalities and small business to buy directly into the state employee plan pool – the Courant says “Rell’s signature is iffy”. Even if she does approve it, the plan may not help many cities and towns — New Haven has determined that it wouldn’t save the city any money
SB 681 – creates a Minority Health Advisory Commission to eliminate health disparities. The Commission will be housed within the Office of Health Care Advocate.

Others that didn’t make it:
HB 5617 – the Charter Oak fix bill. For earlier posts on this bill, click here, here, here, here, here and here
HB 5618
– would have delinked Charter Oak from HUSKY and delayed re-contracting for the HUSKY program – for more on this bill click here, here, here and here
Nursing home oversight and staffing standards – Based on recent scandals and strong language about protecting fragile elders from virtually every politician, it is remarkable that nothing happened on this issue – victim of budget impasse
SB 217 — requiring employers to offer paid sick days – died on House calendar
SB 419 — to ban smoking in tribal casinos – died on House calendar

And there is no new budget. The state will use the second year of the budget passed in last year’s session. In the words of one state agency worker “We are in uncharted territory.” Problems include the fact that there is no provision for carrying forward money not spent this year or covering deficiencies. Also overheard, “We still have to feed prisoners.” Not clear how this will all work out.

Go to the Hartford Courant’s website to give the legislature a grade. As I am posting this, over three quarters of respondents gave them a D or F.
Ellen Andrews