The governor wants to know how federal health care legislation would affect the state and she’s giving one of her commissioners three weeks to report back.
“Like states all over the country, we will be trying to figure out all of the effects of the federal health care bill for weeks to come,” Rell, a Republican, said in news release issued on Thursday. “The simple fact is that this 4,000-page legislation – which weighs nearly 5 pounds – is likely to have all kinds of consequences, including some that its drafters did not predict.”
Joan McDonald, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development, will be working on the report, which will evaluate how the bill would affect large and small employers in the state, Rell said.
“Connecticut employees - in businesses large and small - face some steep costs associated with the federal health care reform bill. I think it is important that we know just what those costs will be if the bill could result in job losses. Employers already are struggling under the weight of the ‘cost of doing business’ and we need to know just what impact this new law will have,” she said.
Sen. Chris Dodd, D-CT, defended the federal health care legislation on Thursday -- insisting the law will benefit the state's middle-class families.
"For middle class families, this legislation means real economic security. You'll be able to count on health insurance that you can afford and that you can trust will be there for your family when you need it. More low and middle-income Connecticut families can send their kids to college without saddling them with a lifetime of crushing debt. And you'll never again have to fear that an illness or injury will mean economic ruin, " said Dodd.
Dodd went on to defend the legislation by pointing out that it provides tax credits for up to 37,600 small businesses in Connecticut -- all in an effort to make coverage more affordable.
He also believes the law will prohibit insurance companies from excluding coverage of pre-existing conditions for the 807,985 children in the state, starting this year.
Meanwhile, state Sen. Toni Boucher, also a Republican, sent a letter to Attorney General Richard Blumenthal asking him to join 13 other attorneys general in suing the federal government to stop the health care legislation.
“I have received the senators’ request and will review it,” Blumenthal, a Democrat, said in a one-sentence news release issued on Wednesday afternoon.
Rell also formed a “Rapid Review” board in January to assess the reform bill’s broader effects.