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.
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
210 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, Connecticut 06106
The email link is here.
Connecticut citizens elected a leader, not an Aetna CEO -- let's never allow Governor Malloy to forget that fact.