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Protesters To Board: Add More Members Or Scrap The Exchange

by | Oct 20, 2011 10:21am
() Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Health Care, State Capitol

Christine Stuart photo

A group of protesters wore Band-Aids over their mouths as they stood in front of the Power Point presentation being given at Thursday’s Insurance Exchange Board meeting.

The demonstration seemed to make board members uncomfortable, but the presentation continued as if the protesters weren’t there.

“The silent protest at the morning’s Health Insurance Exchange Board meeting, shows that residents and small business are not going to let the insurance industry take control of health care reform efforts in Connecticut,” Juan Figeruoa, president of the Universal Health Care Foundation, said in a statement about the protest.

Healthcare advocates wore the Band-Aids over their mouths to demonstrate how they feel they’ve been silenced by the Insurance Exchange Board. Advocates have been fighting since August when the board was first named to get two more members appointed to the board. One which represents consumers and one which represents small businesses.

Tom Swan, executive director of the Connecticut Citizens Action Group, said the Insurance Exchange Board is in clear violation of both the letter and intent of the law the governor signed and the proposed federal regulations.

He said a majority of the board should be made up of small businesses and consumers and not insurance executives.

“It’s in the preamble to the proposed regulations on page 41,872,” Swan said. “Then also within the law itself.“

“No appointee shall be employed by, a consultant to, a member of the board of directors of, affiliated with or otherwise a representative of an insurer, an insurance producer or broker, a health care provider, or a health care facility or health or medical clinic while serving on the board,” Swan read from Public Act 11-53.

He said at least three of the 14 members of the board are in clear violation of both the Connecticut statute and intent of the federal regulations.

The three board members advocates object to, include Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s appointee Mary Fox, who was on Hartford Hospital’s board and is a former Aetna executive; Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney’s appointee Mickey Herbert, the retired president and CEO of ConnectiCare, an insurance company that serves more than 240,000 individuals in Connecticut and Massachusetts; and Sen. Majority Leader Martin Looney’s appointee Dr. Robert Scalettar, a pediatrician who recently worked for Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield as its corporate medical director.

Swan said all three need to be removed and new appointments need to be made. If that doesn’t happen Swan said his organization will fight to disband the entire board and have the state participate in the federal exchange without a state board administering it.

“The intent behind the Exchange legislation is to have a consumer-friendly and consumer-oriented market of health insurance plans that the average person and small business can rely on without the fear of fine print or going bankrupt,” Figeruoa said.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said advocates have the ability to go to the legislature and ask them to add more people to the board.

“I believe the people on this board are advocates for people,” Wyman said. “They care about the issue and they care about making sure this is a successful exchange.”

She said the board will continue to press forward with its business, which includes creating a quasi-public agency and hiring a chief executive officer to oversee the exchange. She urged the group to talk to their lawmakers if they want to change the composition of the board, but legislative leaders who participated in appointing the board have been silent on the issue.

Kevin Galvin, a small business owner, said he thinks that’s an “unfortunate position for the lieutenant governor to take.” He said he’s had discussions with large groups of doctors who are concerned about the linkage of some individuals to the insurance industry and what that means for the types of plans offered in Connecticut. He said the more than a dozen protesters present Thursday represent a much larger constituency.

“The success of small businesses will be a major factor in Connecticut’s economic recovery, but we cannot succeed without access to quality, affordable health insurance,” Galvin wrote in an editorial this weekend. “And it is only right that the groups who will be the most directly affected by the health insurance exchange have a voice in deciding the kind of health insurance we need.”

Keith Stover, a lobbyist for the state’s insurance companies, said he thinks the board was appointed appropriately by all of the legislative leaders and the governor and have demonstrated a “seriousness of purpose around implementation of reform and implementation of the exchange.”

“While theater might be entertaining it’s fiction and we need to be about the business of fact,” Stover said.

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Comments

(4) Archived Comments

posted by: JusticeCT | October 20, 2011  11:20am

This board makes a mockery of CT’s “national leadership” on health reform. Gov. Malloy puts all of our eggs in the federal reform basket, and then undermines it with the same-old-same-old crony appointments. We’ve come to expect that from him, but not Lt. Gov. Wyman - she should be ashamed of herself.  Do they really want the public to have no faith in government?

posted by: GoatBoyPHD | October 20, 2011  1:04pm

GoatBoyPHD

Yes, more people who want resume stuffing jobs at the SustiNet Ent Moot.

Massachusetts did it wisely. Get it implemented in a year and solicit regular feedback and make continuous improvements.

CT should be implementing right now: here’s the thing—they did it without anyone at that above meeting whining and complaining and thinking I or anyone else in CT needs them to get this done.

What we need is Jeanette Dejesus replaced by Dan Malloy and adopt the MA implementation plan and get this thing done the way Republican administration in MA got it done. No more of the CT Democrat resume stuffing Ent Moots.

Is the rumor true? The non-profits (like Jeanette’s former employer) want to be called “Medical Homes” and process paperwork and are slow rolling this because they want a place to play with public dollars?

Here’s the MA timeline.

April 2006-Romney signs the bill

June 2006 - Connector Exchange Board is selected and meets.

November 2006 - 4 Managed Care Plans with Gold, Silver and Bronze levels are offered online

Feb 2007 - the subsidized plans for up to 300% of poverty level are online.

By June 2007 the Globe was proclaiming the triumph of RomneyCare.

Touch that! Manage that! Top That!

I can’t believe the timeline isn’t the issue. The issue is now “I want my resume stuffing seat at the board so I can find a way to divert some money to my non-profit group”?

Time to watch Michael Moore’s Sickos again. The piranha are out swimming with the sharks.

posted by: antman | October 20, 2011  5:01pm

Hi. Can someone please tell me why we dont have one level of health care period. Our government would save money by eliminating everything and could hire existing health insurance companies to admin the plans. It makes no sense for anyone the way it is. I just dont get why we are running healthcare the way we are and the government keeps ignoring it. But if you dont have insurance and something happens SAGA pays for it anyway. I am SICK of SCAMS and wasting money. Everyone is equal. Why dont we be a trendsetter in this state and make something happen. Pull the BANDAID OFF quick and it wont hurt and be over before you know it. WE WOULD SAVE SO MUCH MONEY!!! Both CITIZENS AND THE STATE. By not doing it is corrupt and negligent.

posted by: Martha H | October 21, 2011  11:57am

Martha H

I want to commend antman for making the most logical, articulate and convincing argument against government-run health care that I have ever seen.