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Connecticut's groundbreaking SustiNet public option is under attack again...and not necessarily from who you'd expect.

Quiz: who's representing the citizens of Connecticut and who's representing mega-profits insurer Aetna (you know, the insurer where doctors report to "regional business managers").

Try to guess based on their opinions of SustiNet:

Data to make your guess below the fold.

Number One said:

Number One took a swipe at SustiNet, the state health care reform plan passed by the legislature in 2009. SustiNet may become a state-run health plan that competes with Aetna, besides being an umbrella organization for health insurance offered to state workers, Medicaid and HUSKY.

"SustiNet will not work," Number One said. "It is unaffordable."

Number Two said:

Then he turned the tables on his questioner.

“You began your comments tonight by complaining about your worry of what additional cuts would do, and how that might play itself out. And then you’re asking me at the end of your comments to agree that I should sign something without knowing what the cost is.

Don't be ashamed if you thought that both comments were from mega-rich Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini -- the second comment was actually from CT's Democratic Governor.

Following threats from super rich Bertolini to "take his ball and go home", Governor Malloy has decided to capitulate entirely to Mr. Aetna, not to mention lie about the "cost" of SustiNet.

The truth is that SustiNet, of course, will cost something, but it will end up saving CT taxpayers $226-$227 million per year when it goes completely live in 2014.

Governor Malloy knows this is the case, but as Wendell Potter warned, friends of mega-profit insurance, like Governor Malloy, are choosing distortion over honesty:

But SustiNet supporters will have to do more than brace themselves. They will have to launch a campaign of their own to counter what will indeed be a blitzkrieg of spin. They know the industry does not want a single state — and certainly not the insurance state — to create what it spent millions of premium dollars to abort at the federal level.

The fear mongering will revolve around the J-word: jobs. Just as Congressional Republicans have labeled last year’s federal legislation “The Job-Killing Health Care Law Act,” insurers and their Connecticut friends will allege that a state public option would lead to massive layoffs if people begin leaving the private market in favor of a government-run plan. It is a tried-and-true tactic that many industries — from Big Oil to Big Soda — have used when faced with the prospect of new laws or regulations that might hinder their ability to meet shareholders’ profit expectations.

Hmmmmm, so follow this logic: Aetna CEO whines that SustiNet is unaffordable and will lead to lost jobs, Governor Malloy bites the Aetna "deadly spin" hook, line and sinker.

Malloy's "I'm in favor of the goals of SustiNet" (but not a real public option that was passed into law by the legislature) bullshit is proving very transparent for supporters of health care justice:

Williams, the first SustiNet questioner, said she walked away dissatisfied with his reply. “I don’t even think he’s in support of SustiNet at all,” she mused.

Elia said despite the state’s financial crisis, she’s holding out hope that Malloy would come around to her side on the health bill.

“He has to look at it as an investment,” she said. “It’s the right thing to do for everybody.”

Given that SustiNet was passed into law by the legislature overriding the veto of former GOP Governor Jodi Rell, what we really have Malloy doing is killing CT's public option by defunding -- something that we would expect of Speaker Boehner, but not the governor of a progressive state.

It is particularly tragic that another CT "Democrat" is killing the nation's first, best chance at a real public option -- didn't Joe Lieberman cause us enough pain?

It's also tragic, because CT residents are rightfully terrified about what the mega-profit profiteers at Aetna and CIGNA will "do to them" in the event a promised public option is not implemented:

Dozens of red t-shirt-clad supporters of the state's health-reform plan, SustiNet, were on hand. Mary Elia, a staffer with the Alliance for Retired Americans in Connecticut, praised the courage of members of Congress in passing the federal health-reform bill a year ago - and challenged the governor.

"Now we need to move SustiNet along. I think you have the same courage and vision to sign the SustiNet bill when it gets to your desk. Am I right?"

Malloy responded that he has to wait for a report on the cost of implementation before he can answer that question. He asked Elia if she would expect him to support something "without knowing what the cost is, without knowing what the deficit that would otherwise create, without knowing what other programs might have to be sacrificed, and eliminated to accomplish that?"

Elia, joined by others in the audience, said "yes" because of fear of a worse outcome.

"We don't know what it would cost - what health insurance would cost - without SustiNet, what the insurance companies would do to us."

Wow -- what the insurance companies would do to us? That speaker sounds like she's speaking of a bully, and she is: the mega-profit insurance industry, including Bertolini who is threatening the state of CT, bullies governments and citizens across this nation.

If we let Aetna win, and SustiNet dies, the mega-profit insurance industry will be emboldened to fight other public options and single-payer proposals in California and Vermont.

We must make Governor Malloy here from all of us: choose people over Aetna profits.

Make sure to budget some time tomorrow (if you don't email today) to contact Governor Malloy and demand he support the will of the people by implementing the SustiNet public option as the law was written.

Contact Governor Malloy

State Capitol
210 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, Connecticut 06106

Local: 860-566-4840
 Toll-Free 1-800-406-1527

The email link is here.

Connecticut citizens elected a leader, not an Aetna CEO -- let's never allow Governor Malloy to forget that fact.

Originally posted to james321 on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 02:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.

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Comment Preferences

    •  I've recommended your diary but (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      notrouble, james321, Seamus D

      want to warn that it's important that CT residents be visible in this action. We do not want to be seen as a carpet-bagging movement. There are plenty of CT kossacks--getting them to see this, or kossacks with CT relatives to see this and contact any and all CT associates will be significantly more helpful.

    •  Real, effective and sustainable health care (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      james321, badger

      is what progressives - as well as average Americans - want.  Because a politician is a Democrat in no way means that the politician is a friend to progress.  As we've seen far too many times, the (D) next to a person's name doesn't mean shit if they're a conservadem (yesterday's "moderate Republican").

      The GOP has become so radicalized that there is no room left in their party for moderates, so they've all come across the aisle to infect our party.

      IMHO, real Democrats need to do the same thing, by which I mean drive the conservadems from our party too.

      "Democrat" does not equal "liberal" or "progressive" and that is the heart of the problem.  The Democrats are not a real opposition party.  The GOP acts like an opposition party, the Democrats, not so much.  If they did, our government wouldn't be as broken as it is now because a real opposition party wouldn't have let the GOP (abetted by far too many "Democrats") get away with breaking it in the first place.

      Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

      by democracy inaction on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 04:04:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We don't have enough trouble with GOP slime? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Why do our own party members (with the exception of VT) sell us out EACH AND EVERY TIME on this issue???

      The people of CT need to do more than speak up. They need to BLAST their dissatisfaction loudly and let the governor know that insurance companies have enough roosters in their corner. The PEOPLE need represented too!

      We're at WAR politically, fellow Democrats. Consider this soldier back from hiatus - effective immediately.

      by APA Guy on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 04:17:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  REC this diary up!!!! (18+ / 0-)

    I work with B2B PAC, and all views and opinions in this account are my own.

    by slinkerwink on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 02:03:32 PM PDT

  •  insurance is to CT (9+ / 0-)

    what banks are to NY

  •  Is he a "new dem" kind of guy? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    james321, Seamus D

    Being perceived by markets to be pro-business is important to these guys (evidence be damned). Also the Democratic voters are pretty wealthy.

    If only there were some way for the working class to band together, in some kind of 'union' to protect their interests.

    "Only vigilance and resistance to this baby dictator, Barack Hussein Obama, can prevent the Khmer Rouge from appearing in this country." Michael Savage

    by bay of arizona on Sat Mar 26, 2011 at 02:54:43 PM PDT

  •  Democrats who do things like this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    james321, Nailbanger, badger

    should pay a terrible political price for doing so.

    What does it even mean to be a Democrat anymore?

    That's what this kind of thing tells young people who might otherwise go on to be lifelong Democratic voters.

    Every Democratic voter I meet is proud of Social Security, of Medicare, of the idea that sometimes you have to get away from the corporate for-profit at all costs worldview to get the best possible outcome for the people who are the most threatened and disenfranchised from a better life.

    Why can't more of our office holders, at all levels, and most powerful operatives and pundits, at all levels, be as proud of what the Democratic Party is supposed to stand for as the Democrats who keep them in power do?

    Centists and centrism has utterly dominated the Democratic Party, it's policies, and the political outcomes of militant centrism, since the great comeback of 2006.

    It has gotten us Speaker John Boehner just as much as the bad economy has. But it makes people uncomfortable to say that. So. You can get excoriated just for suggesting it.

    I belong to a party that hobbles and negotiates against itself so that people who will never vote for it or don't care if a Democrat is ever elected to any office ever again don't pitch fits and throw temper tantrums.

    And the fruit of that is that the worst of the worst, the most radical of the radical Republican Right has been able to rise from the dead in less than a decade. We pass policy, and it doesn't help enough to make people trust the Democratic Party. Just because you passed it doesn't mean it's going to be celebrated. Especially because the public doesn't see things getting any better.

    We have moved on from unnecessarily watering down policy so people who won't ever vote for it or ever support it might find it slightly more palatable, to, apparently, the era where we are going to watch Democrats start flattening the tires of what good things we actually could get passed in the obstructionist at all costs era.

    The insurance industry will always fuck over a Democrat if they have a viable Movement Conservative Republican option. It doesn't matter if you make Evan Bayh look like Adelai Stevenson. You don't get anything out of doing this politically in the long run.  

    You can't change anything in a radically unequal society, (and we do live in a radically unequal society, one that is becoming more and more like the Gilded Age as time passes in my lifetime) if you are as busy pre-undermining and post-ruling out your own side's best ideas and policies for moving in a different direction as you are about the art of governing.

    I'm not a Rockefeller Republican because I don't support Movement Conservatism, I'm a Democratic voter because I believe in Democratic political ideas, ideals, and policy outcomes being a better choice.

    I wish my party reflected that mindset. It doesn't.

    It's not that there is no difference between the two parties, it's that we have these people who believe the same things about what is possible and what is not that the Republicans do who are disproportionately empowered to prevent any rollback or significant deviation from the rules about what is possible that Movement Conservatives wish to lay down for the rest of us.

    Harold Fordism, Heath Shulerism, and Evan Bayhism cannot be the extent of our ability to offer the public a different choice, or a massive majority in the Senate to go along with the House is what we have to look forward to. Don't blame a pol, or an office holder, blame the party.

    All of this is a reflection of how much the Democratic Party, in a Meta sense, has been conditioned by the Village, the Corporations, and the Movement Conservatives to work as hard as anyone to make people who serve the interests of the Overclass, the people who should be scared shitless of it the most, as comfortable as possible with the whole spectrum of what can be accomplished.

    We live in a nation where common everyday Americans in all 50 states are reminded over and over and over again, and in so many ways and in so many areas, that anything that isn't either born of Movement Conservative, or ginned up by "Centrists" whose main goals is to prevent liberal policy from being implemented as much as (or more than) it is about addressing the issue at hand, is simply not serious, possible, or sustainable.

    We do not live in a country roiled by a "Left vs. Right" debate. We live in a country where the rich have many allies and the poor have few. You can go out, vote for a Democrat, and have that Democrat implement the same pro-corporate outcome that you would have gotten from a Republican because the Democrat believes the same bullshit about what is possible that the Republicans have been pushing.

    That means living in a nation where your only choices and options for your society is that you can choose what Sean Hannity thinks is possible, or, you can choose what Evan Bayh and Joe Lieberman thinks is possible. The rest is just "crazy talk".

    Instead, Democrats are constantly told that you cannot challenge people who take your money and your volunteer efforts and then go and do great damage to the potential to implement solidly non-Movement Conservative or half-assed "centrist" policy. This sort of thing has lasting echoes across the country. It re-enforces the Movement Conservative talking points, memes, and frames about what government can, and cannot do.    

    If we like what just happened in Wisconsin, and we want to wake up one day to discover that Jeb Bush is the President, and he's got a large Republican Majority in both Houses of Congress, then this kind of status quo 'don't rock the boat' kind of Corporatist outcome is just fine.

    I'd prefer a party that is proud of the people who took to the streets of Wisconsin and wishes they had been there with them, and people like those who were proud to override the veto of Jodi Rell to get this policy passed in CT. more.

    •  Thank you very, very much for your comments! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LeftHandedMan, Nailbanger

      I love this:

      I'd prefer a party that is proud of the people who took to the streets of Wisconsin and wishes they had been there with them, and people like those who were proud to override the veto of Jodi Rell to get this policy passed in CT. more.
      •  No, thank you (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        james321, Nailbanger, badger

        See... I am somebody who truly believes that the Democratic Party should have been seriously dominating American politics and policy outcomes from 2006 until today.

        The GOP literally almost caused a second Great Depression.

        Short of causing a small nuclear war, that should have set the GOP back a generation.

        The most proudly Democratic voices in our discourse and government were completely correct about everything. Right on foreign policy, on the economy, on Wall Street, and on the devastating impact that George W. Bush's policies would have on the nation.

        And then.... we win elections and immediately get concern trolled and berated into navel gazing and watering down everything and letting people who wish everybody was like Harold Ford control the universe.

        And... suddenly we are rocked and on the defensive to the people who... almost caused a second Great Depression not two years earlier.

        2010 was entirely the fruits of letting people who are truly afraid of charting a different course for our nation being the most dominating voices of our party. What happened in Wisconsin is a road map for standing up and defiantly charting a course that will lead to fundamental reforms and change.

        I hate that so many powerbrokers in my party are deeply ashamed to be seen as partisan Democrats.

        We need to be more partisan. We need to fight for, not roll back or defund, bold new policy that didn't come from the Heritage Foundation or the American Enterprise Institute.

        We are right. That is nothing to be ashamed of or timid about.

  •  There was one article about SustiNet where... (0+ / 0-)

    Malloy just started responding "thank you very much" to people complaining about his killing the public option. That's insulting -- these people were talking about their family members with cancer, and he has the balls to be glib.

  •  Malloy is a non starter (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I voted for Malloy, and sadly he is held in the grips of the special interests like all politicos.

    Connecticut has 400,000 w/o health insurance, and Malloy sides with Aetna. Guess what Dan- no vote from me again!

    His office lied to me- they are not informed- and make fabrications out of both sides of their mouth.

    Sustinet is moving forward- lets see him duplicate the same act as republican Rell, which means a VETO-- that should endear him to the Insurance companies like Joe LIEberman.

    •  Yes, hopefully the legislature will have the guts (0+ / 0-)

      to stand with the people, and not Aetna, on SustiNet.

      Go ahead and threaten us, Mark Bertolini. CT will attract "REAL" businesses with a public option -- not just paper pushing insurance company jobs.

    •  Funny that you call him a "non starter" -- that's (0+ / 0-)

      exactly what the insurance industry/corporate lobbyists were quoted as calling SustiNet.

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