Depending on who you believe, the process that led to Gov. Malloy vetoing a bill affecting Waterbury Hospital was either a complete betrayal and breaking of an agreement that will have dire consequences for future negotiations or a case of a bill with many moving parts that failed to acceptably come together in the last days of the legislative session.
The veto of the bill that would have paved the way for a for-profit company to take over Waterbury Hospital is a classic case of a legislative backroom deal falling apart when other forces intervened. The Shad saw that happen many times in my years on staff in the General Assembly. I wasn’t in the room for this one so it’s hard to say definitively whose version is more accurate.
State Rep. Sean Williams, a popular Watertown Republican, says all sides—Republicans, Democrats, and the Malloy administration—had agreed upon a deal for legislation that would allow the health care company Vanguard to take over the hospital. Efforts to save the financially struggling hospital have been going on for years. Williams says this time, a solution was in place. Both the Democratically controlled Senate and House passed the bill with strong majorities. Then the Governor vetoed it. Williams was apoplectic. “At no time did the administration tell us the bill we all agreed upon would be vetoed,” Williams said. “If they had concerns, we would have addressed them.”