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Connecticut Governor Vetoes Drug Treatment Bill

Dannel Malloy issued one of his first vetoes of the year in favor of the insurance industry.

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By Shawn Dwyer

06/02/14

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Gov. Dannel P. Malloy showed why Connecticut is the Insurance State by vetoing a substance abuse treatment bill opposed by the insurance industry.

The bill, which passed both chambers of the state assembly and had the support of mental health and substance abuse treatment providers, as well as people who have received treatment, would have required insurance carriers to report information on treatment coverage to the Connecticut Insurance Department for its annual carrier report card.

Some the information that would have been required included the number of people receiving treatment and level of care; claim expenses; length of treatment; the number of providers accepting new patients; the number of providers either joining or leaving participating networks; and factors that could prevent a patient from receiving access to treatment.

“I support the objective of this bill, which is to increase the amount of information available to policymakers and citizens concerning substance use and the accessibility and availability of substance abuse treatment and coverage,” Malloy said in a letter explaining his reasons for the veto. “While the objective is laudable…I am not comfortable signing this bill into law.”

Proponents of the measure noted that the bill was necessary to provide data that would reveal problems with how carriers provide treatment and help consumers make sound decisions. “This legislation might not be necessary were it not for the fact that behavioral health is treated differently by the insurance industry than virtually any other health care specialty,” said Jeffrey Walter, president and CEO of treatment provider Rushford.

But Malloy apparently bowed to the pressure of the insurance industry, which claimed that the requirements imposed by the bill would be “extremely strenuous and time and resource consuming.”

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