Senate Debates Healthcare Pooling Bill [Hartford Courant]

May 22, 2015

Article as it appeared in the Hartford Courant

The state Senate began debating Thursday afternoon over a healthcare pooling plan that allows non-state employees to join into the state insurance plan.

Healthcare pooling has been controversial through the years as many Democrats have been in favor and many Republicans have been opposed due to the costs.

The pool would be open to local town employees, such as those working for the public schools, public libraries and quasi-public agencies.

The bill seeks to have all local employees in a particular town in the pool, rather than only some. If a town wants to admit only some employees to the pool, the town’s application would need to be reviewed by a special cost containment committee.

“Most towns have public works department or janitors in schools, and they tend to be the most at-risk employees for injuries,” said Sen. Cathy Osten, a Sprague Democrat.

During a back and forth with Sen. Kevin Kelly of Stratford, Osten said the state wants to avoid “a pool of unhealthy employees” because that would not properly spread out the healthcare risks.

The debate continued for hours with questions by Kelly and answers by Osten.