Public option drama
Association Health Care plans
Digital tax in front of the Finance Committee
Other news and notes from the State Capitol
News and notes from around the State
CRMA and COVD-19 one year later
- One of the higher profile issues being considered this legislative session is one put forth by the State Comptroller, creating a so-called “Public Option” for health insurance. The bill also has the support of many of the majority Democrats in the General Assembly, including the Senate Chair of the Committee, Sen. Matt Lesser.
- You can go here for a good backgrounder of what exactly the Comptroller is looking for.
- This issue has been around for several years, but the General Assembly has not had the votes to pass it. The view heading into this session was that with Democrats holding large majorities in both chambers and the governor’s office, the votes would be there to pass the bill.
- However, there are also some very key legislators that oppose Public Option, including Speaker of the House Matt Ritter (D-Hartford), home of the insurance industry, and Governor Lamont, who has also expressed some skepticism on the Public Option.
- This year, the Insurance Committee raised the issue, held a public hearing and then put it on their agenda for vote. That is where the drama began.
- Turns out that Sen. Lesser’s House Co- Chair, Rep. Kerry Wood (D-Wethersfield), also had some concerns about what the Public Option would do to Connecticut’s insurance industry and offered an amendment that would have forced the Comptroller to follow the same financial requirements that insurance carriers do. That amendment was a surprise to Sen. Lesser, who objected, but the amended passed – thereby delivering a serious blow to the Comptroller’s chances of the getting the bill passed.
- Here are two good stories that will give you a good snapshot of some of the reasons why the bill was changed, in the Hartford Courant here and Yankee Institute here.
- We will continue to keep a close eye on this issue because it will have a direct impact on members.
Association Health Plans public hearing
- CRMA strongly believes that organizations like ours – trade groups formed for purposes other than insurance – should be allowed to organize for insurance purposes, so that we can use our size to offer members discounts on health insurance – just as big unions or big business can.
- Yesterday, CRMA testified in favor of House Bill 6585, which would allow associations like ours to form groups and negotiate with carriers on behalf of the group with the goal of lowering costs.
- We also think AHP’s are a better way to go than a Public Option. We want to work with Connecticut insurance carriers to offer members lower health care cost. It is done in other states, retailers there see savings; we should do it here.
- You can see our testimony by going here.
Digital tax in front of Finance Committee
- On Monday, the Finance Committee will be holding a public hearing on two similar bills that would impose a new tax on any advertising done on any digital platform.
- WE STRONGLY OPPPOSE THIS BILL AND ENCOURAGE MEMBERS TO CALL THEIR LEGISLATORS TODAY AND TELL THEM YOU OPPPOSE THE BILL.
- CRMA will be testifying against the bill on Monday, and we will keep you posted on the status of the bill. As we prepare our testimony this weekend, please send us your thoughts on this issue so we can include them in our remarks.
- You can email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Other news and notes from the State Capitol
- The Judiciary committee held a public hearing on bill that would allow pawn brokers to issue checks and then cash checks. We also strongly oppose this bill and submitted testimony against that bill. You see that testimony by going here.
- The Labor Committee is considering changes to Workers Compensation Insurance, due to COVID. You can go here to see that story.
- We will work with our friends at CBIA in opposing this effort.
- The House is in session next Tuesday. No word on the next Senate Session.
- While it is always important to keep an eye on what goes on when either chamber is in session, that is especially true this year due to the virtual nature, and because it may tip off how the remainder of the session will proceed.
- The logistics of having all 187 members connected virtually is challenging. Debates, votes, etc. just take that much longer than in a normal in-person session. Legislative time is critical during any session and we believe leadership will be keeping a close eye on the logistics of the session to determine how the session will proceed, and when most committees are done with business.
News and notes from around the state
- One year ago.
- We couldn’t end this weeks FF without acknowledging the impact that COVID-19 has had on you and your business. One year ago today, the state and the country entered into the great unknown – what the impact of COVID-19 would be on all of us.
- At CRMA, we hope we have been a resource to you to help you thru this period – knowing that our work is far from done. We remain incredibly honored to serve you and want to know that we have not taken our foot off the pedal in representing you and your business.
- Each week that went by, your perseverance and creativity in running your business, inspired us – challenged us to meet the moment for you. We will keep trying our best to do that.
- We couldn’t have done our job this past year without the unbelievable support of the CRMA Board of Directors.
- We also have to thank Bernard Kavaler of Express Strategies for all his help in putting messages together for you, and to David Joslin of Weblight Media for doing all the work to actually getting the finished product “sent and posted.” They were fantastic, and we are grateful for their professionalism.
- Remember: We are here if you need anything.