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Three of the four speakers at yesterday’s public hearing testified in favor of SB-957, An Act Establishing a Health Insurance Advisory Council. The Council’s mission is to advise the insurance department and “examine ways to ensure effective review by the Insurance Department of health insurance rates, ensure the affordability of health insurance in this state and monitor the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.” The Council would include consumers, insurers, brokers, labor, providers, small businesses, an actuary, and relevant agencies. The Council mirrors other collaborative, public Councils in our state that have been successful in improving health care quality, efficiency and lower costs. The Council would also help inform the public about their rights and responsibilities in reform, and provide a vehicle for policymakers to get feedback and ideas from the real world that they are now missing. Insurance Commissioner Leonardi testified that it would create an unneeded layer of bureaucracy and would create an environment that could drive insurers out of the state. Six groups, representing consumers, small businesses, communities and labor, testified or submitted testimony in favor of the bill; the insurance department and the CT Association of Health Plans opposed the bill.