Connecticut balks at Obamacare 'fix'

Both supporters and opponents agree the launch of Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act, has been a disaster, except in a few states like Connecticut, where things have gone relatively well. But even in these states, some citizens are angry over the loss of health insurance they wanted to keep, despite President Obama's assurances that turned out to be untrue.

Mr. Obama, trying to control some of his self-inflicted damage, has now proposed that the states, including those where the process is working, allow canceled policies to be reinstated, at least temporarily.

But the governors of these mostly Democratic states, including Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut, Gerry Brown of California, Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and Andrew Cuomo of New York are declining to help. They are also up for reelection next year, which may or may not be relevant.

Like the others, Connecticut isn't inclined to have a presidential monkey wrench inserted into its functioning machinery at this time. And even if Connecticut and its governor had been willing, the state's insurance companies weren't about to go along.

Mr. Malloy readily endorsed the industry's point that adoption of the Obama extension in Connecticut would not be wise for two very good reasons. It would cause considerable disruption in a rollout that is working and it would also require those who managed to get an extension to pay rate increases averaging 15 to 25 percent. While the president once promised people could keep their existing insurance plans, if they wished, he never promised they could do it without paying more.

"The solution offered a week ago by the president doesn't work in Connecticut," is the way Mr. Malloy succinctly put it.

Connecticut's Republican Party, sensing an election year issue for 2014, finds itself in the rather unusual position of supporting President Obama's health care fix, if not his original plan. Party chairman Jerry Labriola accused the governor of "abandoning the Connecticut families who are being stripped of their health care coverage" and House Minority Leader Larry Cafero said the governor should have extended present policies for a year, but didn't say how he could manage this if the insurers didn't want to do it.

Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, an announced Republican candidate for governor, wants a special session to give the General Assembly and its Democratic majorities a role in extending the discontinued policies but the governor, sensing a political circus would be coming to town with the session, wasn't about to do that, even without an election in his future.

What Mr. Malloy did do was make a promise, despite the well known hazards of making promises about health insurance.

"We're going to work with people, work them through their options and get them covered either on the exchange or with a private plan that makes sense for their needs," said the governor in rejecting the Obama fix. "The simple truth is that Connecticut didn't create this particular problem but we aren't going to pass the buck either."

We have his word on that and his word will be thoroughly monitored.

The editorial board is composed of the publisher and four journalists of varied editing and reporting backgrounds. The board's discussions and information gained from its meetings with political, civic, and business leaders drive the institutional voice of The Day, as expressed in its editorials. The editorial department operates separately from the newsroom.


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