HEALTH REFORM BILL PASSES; NO ONE’S SURE WHAT IT MEANS

All five Congressmen from Connecticut last night voted in favor of the historic health care reform bill. The vote handed President Obama the victory he has sought since taking office. US Rep. Chris Murphy wrote on an online social network, “Millions more people get health care, an end to discriminatory health insurance practices, tax cuts for CT small businesses, and $130 billion off the deficit. An historic day.”

All that may be true but the fact is, no one really knows how this will all work out. This morning, critics are saying that in the coming years, states will be saddled with billons in additional Medicaid costs.

There is still the question of the $100 million Sen. Dodd is said to have put in the bill for a new or renovated UConn Health Center. Apparently there are a number of states that will compete for that money—it’s not an automatic. This is the exchange between FOX News host Chris Wallace and Democrat Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Democrats’ chief deputy whip on FOX News Sunday:

WALLACE: $100 million for a hospital in Connecticut? That’s not a special deal?

WASSERMAN SCHULTZ: That’s not $100 million for a hospital in Connecticut. There are 13 states eligible to competitively compete for that program. That is not just a special deal for Connecticut. That has…

So I guess we need to hear from Sen. Dodd as to whether Connecticut is getting this money or not. The $100 million was a lynchpin of Governor Rell’s plan for the UConn Health Center’s future.
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Should the possession of drug paraphernalia or less than an ounce of marijuana be a misdemeanor or a ticketed offense? That was the question before the legislature’s judiciary committee Friday. Supporters cite the financial savings the state would see by not having to prosecute so many cases. Opponents see it as opening the door to decriminalization of other drug. Or from the police’s perspective, cutting off an avenue for further searches.

“We don’t like the bill,” West Hartford Police Chief James Strillacci told the Hartford Courant after the hearing. “It would take what’s now a crime and make it an infraction, and that would reduce an officer’s ability to take further investigative action, particularly for searches.”