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Yesterday the Public Health Committee passed the SustiNet bill on a party line vote. Even legislators who voted against the bill praised most of the provisions and the intent of the bill. Concerns centered on potential state liability (although the bill requires SustiNet to be self-sustaining), that it will “take over” Connecticut’s insurance market (only about 15% of residents are expected to enroll), that it doesn’t do enough to reduce climbing health care costs (it’s a start), that it isn’t necessary given national health reform (it really is necessary to have a public option if we are going to require everyone to buy insurance), that we are moving too fast and should wait to see what happens to federal reform (interesting given other concerns that we have waited too long to address the problems), and that the timeline for implementation of patient-centered medical homes is too ambitious (we are behind other states, but many CT practices are already in the process of becoming certified). Substitute language removed medical malpractice protection for providers who follow evidence-based medicine, makes it clear that DSS will be the single state agency for Medicaid, and makes including individuals in SustiNet (the point of the bill) contingent on a feasibility study. The bill now moves to the Insurance and Real Estate Committee.
Ellen Andrews