The theory behind the legislation—which the Senate approved on a 22-12, largely party-line vote—is that by joining the state program, cities, nonprofit groups and small employers would become part of a much bigger purchasing entity and pay lower rates than they would buying coverage on their own.
Earlier, state officials had said expanding the program could increase costs for the state because insurers writing coverage could seek to raise rates to reflect an expansion.
“These additional costs to the state are not budgeted anywhere, and additional resources would have to be budgeted if the bill passes,” state Budget Director Robert Genuario wrote in a letter to lawmakers before the House approved the measure last month on a 102-43 vote.
Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell, a Republican, hasn’t said whether she will sign the measure.