Washington – Gov. Dannel Malloy told an audience at a liberal think tank on Tuesday that Connecticut Republicans did not stand in the way of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in Connecticut — a statement some in the crowd found hard to believe given the raging partisan war over the ACA in Washington.

“They played a different role,” Malloy said of Connecticut’s Republicans. “They were not as obstructionist.”

The governor also said the tea party — born largely of opposition to the ACA –was not “a faction” in the state.

“I don’t think they had as much sway in Connecticut as they had in other states,”  Malloy said

The governor spoke at the Center for American Progress on “The Success of Connecticut’s Health Care Marketplace.”

Malloy said he was glad Connecticut’s GOP did not derail the effort to set up an insurance marketplace in Connecticut and enroll tens of thousands of people in health insurance. He stopped short of giving Republicans credit for the success of  AccessHealthCT. That was saved for AccessHealthCT CEO Kevin Counihan – and of course himself.

He said Maryland, whose health officials are visiting Connecticut right now, have decided to chuck their problem-plagued health exchange website and  adopt the AccessHealthCT model “because Connecticut has got it right.”

“How many states doubled their target enrollment?” Malloy asked.

He also said other states are also looking to take tips from Connecticut. “States that are not successful will look at those that are successful,” Malloy said.

As far as states that decided against expanding their Medicaid coverage, like Mississippi and Alabama, the governor predicted they will have regrets.

“How is that non-treatment working for you folks?” is the question Malloy said he wanted to pose to the governors of those states next year.

Malloy said his support of the ACA “cost me with some progressive friends” in Connecticut who wanted a state-run health care system.

“Finally someone had to say ‘no,’ and we are doing very well with this fix,”  the governor said.

For nearly an hour, Malloy was mostly lobbed softball  questions from members of the audience who praised his efforts on behalf of the ACA and his support of a hike in the minimum wage.

The governor then went to speak to the  National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Annual International Insurance Forum.

In his speech to the group, Malloy defended the current system of insurance regulation, which is based in the states and not in Washington D.C. or subject to international standards.

“This means that, unless Congress ignores our 140- plus  year track record and overcomes the resolute opposition of our nation’s governors, state legislatures, and state regulators, the states, and not the federal government, will have the last word on whether international standards will become a reality in this country,” Malloy said.

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Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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