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Wyman: SustiNet Is Still Dead

by Hugh McQuaid | Sep 12, 2011 12:11pm
(17) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Health Care

Hugh McQuaid Photo

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman

As the state moves to implement health care reforms, information gleaned from the SustiNet board’s recommendations can provide guidance, but the plan itself is still quite dead, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said Monday at a SustiNet Health Care Cabinet meeting.

“SustiNet’s not around anymore, there is no SustiNet at this point,” she said after the group’s first meeting.

The plan was conceived as an attempt to offer affordable access to health care by the creation of a massive health insurance pool, combining the current pool of state employees and retirees with people covered under state assistance programs like Medicaid.

The cabinet represents the remnants of the work of the SustiNet board. It was established under a bill that saw it become a powerless advisory board.

SustiNet died a slow but definitive death over the last year. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy initially distanced himself from the plan soon after taking office. He eventually took steps to curtail it when it became a source of controversy among state employees considering his $1.6 billion dollar concessions package.

Many state workers expressed concerns that being added into a larger insurance pool would drive up their health care costs. When it became clear those concerns were likely affecting the vote on the labor deal, which the state’s budget is contingent on, officials took dramatic steps to kill the plan.

The legislature went so far as to recommit the SustiNet bill near the end of the last session, a rare move that ensured it could never come to a vote. Meanwhile, Wyman wrote an email to all state employees telling them their health care insurance would still be offered through Anthem and Oxford and had nothing to do with SustiNet.

But even after the labor agreement was ratified following a second round of voting, rumors persist among some state workers that they will at some point in the future find themselves in the SustiNet pool.

Lisa Herskowitz, a state prosecutor who has called on the state Board of Labor Relations to invalidate the labor agreement, said in her complaint it’s still a common concern.

“There is a boatload of us who believe that we will end up in a health plan, call it SustiNet of whatever you want, that we will be funding, but which will be extended to municipal employees and non-state employees of some of the bigger SEBAC unions, like AFSCME,” she wrote.

But Wyman said Monday that SustiNet now only serves as an information source to inform the decisions of the cabinet.

“The information’s not dead but the idea of the SustiNet plan is dead,” she said.

Several of the cabinet members said it was important not to ignore all the work and information the board has already done.

“For 18 months, the SustiNet board, its committees and task forces, worked to do a lot of the research and analysis and formulate recommendations that really bring us to this stage here, where we are today,” said Frances Padilla of the Universal Heatlh Care Foundation.

The cabinet should capitalize on all that work and bring members who were not involved with the SustiNet board up to speed on its recommendations, she said. During the first meeting the cabinet established several working groups to tackle various health care issues.

The SustiNet board already worked extensively on those same issues, Padilla said.

State Comptroller Kevin Lembo agreed.

“A lot of that baseline work has been done and a lot of it was a result of agency briefings and all that work and I, for one, do not want to start again,” he said.

Jeannette DeJesús, Malloy’s special advisor on health reform, said that while the group is fortunate to have all that information available to it, it’s important to remember that health care is a rapidly changing field.

“There’s a lot of new things happening that we need to consider, there are lots of new opportunities, and there are lots of people who want to play that have not participated in the past. Our goal is to really be inclusive at every turn,” she said.

The group will continue to meet once a month in an effort to reach an aggressive time table to implement the health care reforms called for in the federal affordable care act. Their next meeting will be on Oct. 13.

On Sept. 9, DeJesús and Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Commissioner Patricia A. Rehmer announced that the department secured an $8.3 million federal grant to ramp up identification and treatment of adults who are at-risk for substance misuse or diagnosed with a substance use disorder.

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(17) Comments

posted by: GoatBoyPHD | September 12, 2011  2:05pm

GoatBoyPHD

SustiNet was a plan for the unwashed masses. The first step of a social leveling scheme to treat all citizens equal. One policy to heal them all.

Not to worry. SEBAC tanked that short-lived dream. SEBAC will enver be on SustiNet. Never Ever Ever!

Sustinet is for taxpayers stupid.

posted by: Tessa Marquis | September 12, 2011  6:17pm

I thought it was the one thing that was going to save my company money, so I could hire more people.

Never mind.

posted by: Vote Yes!!!!! | September 12, 2011  9:27pm

Vote Yes!!!!!

Tomato….too..mah..toe.  All the same.  Politicians love to lie

posted by: Upset.Citizen | September 12, 2011  10:50pm

Upset.Citizen

Funny…  CGA’s website says it’s alive and well…  That must be wrong!  Our politicians would never lie to us!  All these people must keep meeting because they like each other’s company so much!

Yeah right, It became a law on 7/1/11.

https://ctmail.ct.gov/OWA/redir.aspx?C=4ba76aa3355c46c58c65b9124f141dd8&URL=http://cga.ct.gov/asp/cgabillstatus/cgabillstatus.asp?selBillType=Bill&bill_num=6308&which_year=2011&SUBMIT1;.x=0&SUBMIT1;.y=0&SUBMIT1=Normal

posted by: GoatBoyPHD | September 13, 2011  10:46am

GoatBoyPHD

I’d remind Jeanette that Massachusetts went from passing legislation to their online web site to purchase in 1 year.

In Massachsusetts, they don’t pay people to slow roll legislation like a health care exchange and make a living off the slow roll committees.

posted by: Martha H | September 13, 2011  1:32pm

Martha H

Goatboy, Major-Shmuck, Upset.Citizen, AndersonScooper, jonessAC12, Richard, taxpayer, DickG, etc:

The readers of this excellent news site have about as much use for a Right-Wing Troll like you (with 1,001 pseudonyms and 1,002 IP addresses) as you do for a conscience. 

Cheers!

posted by: ... | September 13, 2011  3:40pm

...

Well Martha H, I was at first mildly offended at being called a ‘troll’. This is my only username and the administrators of this site could prove that to you. As could I prove to you the picture I use is actually me, not a stock photo of someone or something, or a cartoon.

But then you made my day by calling/grouping me as ‘Right-Wing’. I had to stifle my laughter at that.

So thank you for the joke of the day and I hope you have a great, provocative day ^_^!

posted by: Matt W. | September 13, 2011  4:22pm

Matt W.

Great point Martha! But you forgot to call them poop heads.  I think that little addition would have really wrapped up your argument on this matter quite nicely.

posted by: Vote Yes!!!!! | September 13, 2011  4:34pm

Vote Yes!!!!!

Martha H:  I am Major Shmuck and I only post as Major Shmuck.  I am not a “Right Wing Troll” as you cowardly called me as such.  However when I deal with cowards like yourself, who label others to feel better about their own shallow and pathetic life….. I find myself thinking of General Patton when he told the coward who was crying because he did want to go back on the front because he was scared.  Somewhat like yourself.  Stand up sunshine, stop labeling people you don’t know and make difference. Let Major Shmuck translate what I just wrote above….whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…...I want my teddybear….whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

posted by: Martha H | September 13, 2011  8:01pm

Martha H

“Never argue with an idiot or a Troll.  They will drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.”

posted by: Upset.Citizen | September 14, 2011  6:22am

Upset.Citizen

@Martha H. – What part of my earlier post was incorrect?  I said politicians lie and I provided a link to the actual bill that was made into a law with all the details spelled out, posted by the CGA, for you to read on your own.

Do you by any chance work at Comptrollers or DOT?  If so I think we know each other!  Want to meet at break so we can discuss the issues?  We can invite all of the people to join us who you say do not exist…

BTW: Nice quote.  Didn’t know you were a Charlie Sheen fan…  good to see there is at least one of you left!  Usually when a quote is used you attribute the originators name.

posted by: Martha H | September 14, 2011  1:24pm

Martha H

jonessAC12 writes,

“As could I prove to you the picture I use is actually me…”

Ok.  Prove it.
 
(Or stop blogging, friend).

Well??

posted by: ... | September 14, 2011  2:40pm

...

Nah, I’m good. You don’t seem really interested in knowing anyways smile.

posted by: Martha H | September 14, 2011  4:55pm

Martha H

So, Epic Fail by the site’s RRWT (Resident Right-Wing Troll) and his merry band of hater sock-puppets.  Is anyone surprised?

It does make you wonder how many more visitors CTNJ would get if the Comment section were real…

posted by: Vote Yes!!!!! | September 14, 2011  10:27pm

Vote Yes!!!!!

Christine, could you respectfully ask Martha H to stop calling people names.  You have a great site and it really helped our members through this difficult concession situation.  It allowed people to voice and hear both sides, which is great.  In Martha H’s case,  I just hate to see an “individual” spread hate.  That is not cool or constructive… Thanks, Major Shmuck!

posted by: Christine Stuart | September 14, 2011  10:53pm

Christine Stuart

Martha H,
You are making a mistake about traffic and comments. The number of comments is no indication of the traffic. FWIW. Also I would appreciate if you would stop making attacks on commenters. It doesn’t further the conversation.
Christine

posted by: Martha H | September 15, 2011  8:42am

Martha H

Christine,

Per your request, Christine, will do.  And please keep up the unparalleled reporting and analysis.