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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

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Day two of David Pecker testimony wraps in NY Trump trial; Supreme Court hears arguments on Idaho's near-total abortion ban; ND sees a flurry of campaigning among Native candidates; and NH lags behind other states in restricting firearms at polling sites.

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The Senate moves forward with a foreign aid package. A North Carolina judge overturns an aged law penalizing released felons. And child protection groups call a Texas immigration policy traumatic for kids.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

CT insurance committee fails to advance legislation

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Tuesday, April 2, 2024   

Connecticut's Insurance and Real Estate Committee failed to advance any bills by its legislative deadline. Almost 40 bills were brought before the committee this session, but last-minute disagreements cost them a chance to vote on any of them.

Some of this legislation could have provided relief for residents, since insurance rates increased this year.

Tom Swan, executive director of Connecticut Citizen Action Group, called the situation unprecedented and said it speaks to a certain level of dysfunction among committee members.

"There were any number of bills before the committee this year, ranging from health-care affordability to mental health parity, that could have really improved people's lives. And I would argue that, because of the stubbornness of one co-chair, nothing happened," he contended.

With elections being held for both chambers this year, the committee will look quite different when it reconvenes next year. Swan feels this will serve as a learning experience for state lawmakers, and that next year, there could be a better understanding of what both caucus' priorities are, and move forward with a better knowledge of what bills will be raised.

Some bills before the committee would have been key to implementing reforms in certain insurance sectors. One would have approved a study to see how well companies abide by the state's Mental Health Parity Law. Despite vast support, this bill will wait until next year to be revisited.

Swan said if the same House co-chair returns to the committee in 2025, certain provisions need to be made.

"When the chairs meet, it probably would make sense for a representative of leadership's offices to be in the room, to make sure that what is agreed to actually happens when it comes up," he explained.

Some health-care increases were brought on by the pandemic, with Medicare and Medicaid's percentage of growth in cost expenditures barely growing 5% in 2021. But in the same year, commercial insurance's growth skyrocketed to almost 20%, with Connecticut spending $34 billion on health care and insurance costs.


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