Malloy calls for CT health insurance mandate

BY Matt Pilon

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy kicked off the 2018 legislative session Wednesday calling on legislators to pass a Connecticut version of the recently repealed Obamacare individual mandate to purchase health insurance.

Congress gutted the Affordable Care Act's mandate in its December tax cut law, removing IRS fines for being uninsured.

Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman had recently indicated support for a state-level mandate, akin to what Massachusetts passed in 2006 (known as Romney-Care).

In his final State of the State address as governor, Malloy followed suit.

"Together, let's pass a bill that preserves the most vital elements of the Affordable Care Act – including the individual mandate," Malloy said. "Let's make it clear that in Connecticut, health care is a fundamental right."

He also asked legislators to mandate that prescription birth control remain free in the state.

Connecticut is not alone in exploring a state-based mandate. The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that eight other states and Washington, D.C. are weighing their options.

In his address, the governor also called for Connecticut to beef up its paid sick laws, which exempt manufacturers and companies with fewer than 50 workers.

Hitting on a theme of "Connecticut Fairness" in his speech, which came in the midst of a bad flu season in the state, Malloy said no worker should lose wages if they or a loved one catches the flu.

"A working parent should not need to choose between lost pay and taking care of a sick child," he said. "And customers should not worry about being served by a sick employee."