Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy sharply criticized the Connecticut Senate for unanimously passing legislation early Friday that creates a new mandate for health insurers, arguing the bill shows a “lack of awareness and blatant disdain for the industry’s expertise.”
The bill, which now awaits action in the House of Representatives, comes as health insurer Aetna Inc. is looking to relocate its long-standing headquarters from Hartford to another state.
“Yet again, the state Senate turned a deaf ear on the insurance industry and completely disregarded informed input on this topic,” the Democrat said in a written statement, adding it would be “very difficult” for him to ultimately sign the legislation into law.
Malloy said he supports the underlying premise of the bill, which attempts to protect health benefits for women, children and adolescents if the federal Affordable Care Act is ultimately revamped by the Republican-controlled Congress. However, he said it was “inexcusable” for lawmakers to amend the legislation with a new requirement that would, among other things, require health insurers to sell policies to eligible pregnant women no more than 30 days after the beginning of their pregnancy.
Malloy said imposing such a change on insurers could make it impossible for them to set a reasonable rate on plans.
Senate Republican Leader Len Fasano of North Haven called Malloy’s criticism of the bipartisan measure “amazing.”
“This protects…babies and pregnant women,” he said. “That’s all it does.”
Sen. Kevin Kelly, a Stratford Republican and a co-chairman of the General Assembly’s Insurance Committee, said lawmakers made sure the legislation was narrowly tailored to minimize costs.
Democratic Senate President Martin Looney of New Haven took Malloy’s criticism in stride.
“There is a great deal about the legislative process that is fluid and situational,” he said. “An opponent on one issue might be a critical ally on another, as long as the personal relationship is not undermined.”
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