Candidate Calls For CT Single-Payer System

Paul Bass PhotoDan Drew knows what it’s like when reporters stick their noses into your campaign fundraising records — because he was one of those reporters once himself.

As a reporter with the Potomac News and Manassas Journal Messenger, Drew discovered a Prince William County sheriff candidate had misrepresented a source of corporate cash to his campaign. Drew’s story sparked a special prosecutor’s investigation that resulted in an indictment against the candidate.

Now, Drew is raising money himself, for Connecticut’s highest office. He has formed an exploratory committee to begin seeking the Democratic Party’s 2018 nomination to replace Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who announced last week that he’s not running for reelection. Potential candidates — such as Republican Joe Visconti and Democrats Jonathan Harris and Chris Mattei  —  have emerged daily since Malloy’s announcement. Drew was first out of the box, months before.

At 37, Drew, who’s in his third term as mayor of Middletown, presents a young face in what promises to be a 2018 field dominated by aging boomers. In an interview on WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven,” he stopped short of calling his age a reason to vote for him (as opposed to former presidential candidate Howard Dean, who said in a recent New Haven visit that the Democrats need to jettison boomers in favor of millennial candidates). But Drew did make a generational pitch.

“I want to be a transformational candidate. I don’t want to make my pitch based on my age. I want to make my pitch based on ideas. The baby boom generation has largely embraced this idea of trickle-down economics. I think we should change direction. It’s not working. ...

“In our society we’ve gotten used to the idea that we have kowtow to very elite people in order to make all of us successful…. We’ve put ourselves in the position where we’ve repeatedly asked the middle class and the working class to subsidize the wealthy on the presumption that it’s good for them. I just don’t agree with that. I think it’s wrong. I think it’s immoral… I think it’s bad public policy.  I want to get back to the idea that we have to help real people. That’s how we become prosperous again.”

Branding himself a “Franklin Roosevelt” Democrat, Drew has joined other 30-something Democratic local officials like South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg in a national “pro-growth progressive” group called The NewDEAL. Drew has tapped a 28-year-old campaign manager, Kyle Buda, who ran Justin Elicker’s 2013 New Haven mayoral quest.

In the WNHH interview, Drew borrowed a page from 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in citing two campaign positions. He supports universal free tuition to Connecticut’s public colleges and universities, and he supports a single-payer universal health care plan in the state.

He said he’d pay for those plans by raising the income tax rate on high earnings; ending a “carried-interest” loophole that allows hedge fund managers to pay 20 percent rather than 39.6 percent in federal taxes on their income (even Donald Trump opposed that loophole on the campaign trail); and ending state subsidies to corporations like the $22 million in grants and loans to the hedge fund Bridgewater Associates under Gov. Malloy’s “First Five” program. (Drew said he had no answer when asked if he would have supported the “First Five” support for New Haven’s Alexion Pharmaceuticals move. He also didn’t specify the level at which he’d raise income taxes; some Democrats have proposed raising rates on annual incomes over $1 million from 6.99 to 7.5 percent.)

Drew offered few specifics on the single-payer health care plan — for instance, whether the state would administer the program itself or hire an outside manager. But he said a single-payer plan would also cut medical costs, as the Medicare program (a single-payer system) currently does. He called private health insurers “the only industry I know where you pay out the nose — then the minute you need to use it, you’re penalized.”

Drew supported Hillary Clinton, who was seen as the “corporate” Democrat, over Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primaries, for which he took heat from some WNHH listeners who posted on the Facebook Live page during the broadcast. But he said he liked both campaigns and agrees with much of Sanders’s platform.

Drew also came out in favor of “sanctuary cities” like New Haven and Middletown that embrace immigrants and decline to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement efforts. He said he supports legalizing recreational use of marijuana, though he himself has never smoked it. (“I don’t like the feeling of my not being in control of my body.”)

Drew edited the campus paper as a University of Connecticut student. After working in Virginia, he moved back to Connecticut, where he worked for the Connecticut Post. He decided to make the switch to government because, he said, he felt he could make a difference in people’s lives.

Click on or download the above audio to hear the full interview with Dan Drew on WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven.” The interview covered his personal history, his record in Middletown, and his gubernatorial campaign platform.

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posted by: 1644 on April 20, 2017  5:12pm

All insurance, not just medical, causes one to “pay through the nose” after your need it.  Insurance is meant to share risk.  Claims, or ill-health, increases risk (and in the case of many medical conditions assures ) that the insurer will need to pay out, therefore risk-adjusted premiums increase.  ). Given the current popularity of facial piercings, many of our bairns should be able to pay through the nose without new pain.)

Medicare, of course, is not a single-payer system, as we have many other payers.  It, also, has a lot of administrative requirements which add cost to providers.  Generally, it pretty much covers providers costs, while Medicaid falls far short.  Private insurance could be cheaper if Medicaid paid more, or their were fewer Medicaid patients, as providers who accept Medicaid need to shift their costs to private insurers.  The most efficient system would be a UK style single provider, although it saves money by withholding care and paying providers less, as well as administrative savings.

    Overall, given the importance of the healthcare industry to New Haven, and the health insurance industry to Connecticut, a shift to Medicare for all would hurt the state.  Many of my New Haven area friends commute to Hartford for good jobs with Cigna, Aetna, etc.  Health insurers may be evil parasites, but they are our evil parasites.

posted by: Renewhavener on April 20, 2017  9:48pm

“In our society we’ve gotten used to the idea that we have kowtow to very elite people in order to make all of us successful…. We’ve put ourselves in the position where we’ve repeatedly asked the middle class and the working class to subsidize the wealthy on the presumption that it’s good for them. I just don’t agree with that. I think it’s wrong. I think it’s immoral… I think it’s bad public policy.  I want to get back to the idea that we have to help real people. That’s how we become prosperous again.”

So divisive. 

All your rhetoric does Drew is provide more lubrication to accelerate additional HNWI’s exit from the Nutmeg State.  Great idea when we are looking for every tax dollar everywhere we can.

Unfortunately for your narrative our State is in the shape it is in precisely because it has followed your suggestion for three decades and has prioritized everything other than supporting those who enterprise and add value.

Contrary to your quote, we have in fact been following a strategy of helping “real” people, so called, for a generation So then what we have now must be your definition of “prosperous”. 


You consider this prosperous:

or this:

or this:

Think you should reconsider the context you are running in and the policy choices that have brought us to this point before you go shake your morality stick in anyone’s direction.  If you do that, you might avoid poking yourself in the eye Drew, as you have for me.

@NHI Thank you for putting him on the air.  It clarifies how out of touch this fellow is.

posted by: Bill Saunders on April 20, 2017  9:52pm

Too Cute to Win. 
(Unless he can pull in Steve Colbert to impersonate Dan Malloy in the Ad Campaign)

posted by: robn on April 21, 2017  9:24am

What is the candidates position on the unfunded liabilities of State employee pensions/benefits?
This is the biggest finincial issue for the Sate of CT and the question was not asked?

[Paul: Thanks for the comment. I did ask the question. He didn’t really have any specifics in his answer, so I didn’t include it in the text of the story, though it’s there in the audio.]

posted by: JCFremont on April 21, 2017  10:15am

Years ago car insurance was very, very expensive, something all drivers had to have. Well through pooling bad (and or risky) drivers, and spreading them around to multiple insurance companies rates have gone down. What other phenomena has caused rates to go down? Who’s blocking the fight to end that rule? How come we can’t see a lizard, Flo, actor Dennis Herbert and That guy who won an Oscar doing commercials to save on health insurance? The only thing one payer system and “free tuition is going to do is cause a return of “Park Ave. & Rodeo Dr.” doctors and the Ivy Walls of Yale and Harvard will be “stronger” then anything that being built on the Rio Grande. Yes we can stop the carried interest scam “even Donald Trump….” But Drew chasing out any remaining financial sector devils out of Connecticut isn’t going to help an already shriveling state.

posted by: JohnTulin on April 21, 2017  12:21pm

Couldn’t find a bigger picture?  haha

posted by: RobotShlomo on April 21, 2017  1:21pm

Renewhavener said;
You consider this prosperous:

The most prominent quote in that piece comes from Jonathan Williams from ALEC. For those who aren’t familiar with ALEC, they’re the American Legislative Exchange Council, which are a think tank that quite literally write legislation on behalf of and are favorable to corporations, and have it introduced into congress by politicians that they have bought off. ALEC is funded by… Surprise, surprise. THE KOCH BROTHERS. Charles and David Koch have been breaking unions and attempting to peel back regulations so they can personally enrich themselves for YEARS now.  Anything that helps the middle class, the Kochs are going to be against, which is why their minions are trying to kill the ACA, and the minimum wage.

Trickle down doesn’t work. It’s NEVER WORKED. Being nice to rich people because they want to turn the U.S. into an oligarchy, and we all benefit from their largesse is not a plan. Connecticut is in such a state now because it never invested in growth sectors that places like Washington, New York, and California did.

posted by: shoppinglady on April 21, 2017  3:35pm

Nice interview! - I was happy to hear about the “New Deal” group of progressive democrats already in office around the country. I am a fan of Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and was glad to hear that Mr. Drew shares some of his perspective. Specifically, Mayor Pete’s platform for DNC chair included a reference to the new progressive Indivisible-inspired activist groups around the country, and his vision that the DNC should work to engage those groups on their own terms rather than simply co-opting them into regular democratic “machine” politics. I hope Mr. Drew feels the same way, and I’m looking forward to hearing more about his platform as he considers his candidacy.

posted by: jschmidt27 on April 24, 2017  12:20pm

just ask people like this what is he going to do when the rich pay and revenue drops?

posted by: Renewhavener on April 24, 2017  9:58pm

@Robot, “Connecticut is in such a state now because it never invested in growth sectors that places like Washington, New York, and California did.”

It’s that simple is it?

What sort of growth sectors are you referring to?  Washington has aerospace, we used to have two jet engine manufacturers, now we have one.  You know what else they have, NO INCOME TAX! 

New York has finance, guess we used to have that too until RBS imploded and UBS began packing for Memphis, meanwhile our industrial champion, insurance, is the most over-regulated vertical.  Guess we are just hard-wired to be regulated here in Connecticut aren’t we…

And as for California, you simply cannot be serious.  They are the world’s 8th largest economy.  8th.  They should be a representative at the G8 summit AS A STATE.  How can anyone make an economically comparative argument between Connecticut and California and attempt to hang on to any scrap of credibility in the process? 

Moreover, you think new-Drew here is going to invest in growth?  Like his FedEx project.  A project that lends itself more to Middletown’s inherent half-way-to-somewhere-else-ness, more so than to any of Drew’s natural skills…

Were we listening to the same interview?

posted by: jschmidt27 on April 25, 2017  8:50am

Breaking the strangle hold that unions have on Democrats would be good for the state. The fact that we have an SEIU leader as the speaker of the house is ridiculous and should be prevented. Any union leadership shouldn’t be in a legislature.