Was it the effort to leverage Connecticut’s tremendous buying power to lower healthcare premiums for people whose healthcare is funded by taxpayers?
Was it the effort to create a system in which municipalities, non-profit organizations and small businesses could buy healthcare at a lower cost?
Was it the focus on lowering costs for everyone by making greater use of electronic medical records, preventative treatment initiatives or promoting cutting edge care in patient homes?
Or was it the creation of a “public option”, which was scheduled to begin in 2014 and would have provided health care insurance for the tens of thousands of Connecticut’s uninsured residents- an option that would have be financed by premium payments and federal tax credits and would not have required significant state subsidies.
Everyone in the room knew, but few would say, that part of the problem was that the SustiNet plan had gotten caught up in the recent Malloy/SEBAC agreement when, as a result of poor communication by both the state unions and the Malloy Administration, opponents of the concession deal interpreted the proposed health care changes as part of a secret plan to use SustiNet to undermine the state employee’s health care plan.
But of course, that problem could have easily been resolved.
What could not be easily resolved was the strong opposition from Connecticut’s health care industry.
And since that opposition was very real and politically significant, the Governor’s new Health Care Cabinet did what it had to do and simply skipped over the true reason SustiNet was killed.
In the end the real problem was that here, in what was once the “Insurance Capital of the World”, if the SustiNet System worked as it was designed to do then health care premiums would drop and if health care premiums dropped, insurance company profits might drop as well.
In a year when Dan Malloy gave Cigna Insurance company almost $50 million in public funds to “move” its corporate headquarters back to Connecticut and create at least 250 jobs, whacking the insurance industry’s bottom line was hardly the message some wanted to send.
And equally important was the fact that SustiNet would allow a variety of entities to buy their health insurance through one of the state’s pools or plans.
Many chambers of commerce, especially the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, make their money by selling insurance to their members.
Giving small businesses another option for getting insurance, even if it mean cheaper insurance for businesses and their employees would have had a devastating impact on the ability of business groups to fund their activities.
So yes, SustiNet is Dead.
It was killed by some of the very people who helped create it in the first place.
Go to CTNewsJunkie’s archives for a great set of stories describing the rise and fall of SustiNet: ttp://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/ctnj.php/archives/taglist/SustiNet