New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)
Thumbs up, thumbs down
Thumbs down to an increase in health insurance rates. The state Department of Insurance approved last week an average rate hike of
5.6 percent for individual health plans in 2022, which is less than the carriers had asked for, at 8.6 percent. Advocates deserve credit for keeping the numbers lower than what had been sought. Still, the jump will be difficult for some policy holders to bear. Leaders of both parties have advanced proposals to keep health care costs in check in recent years, and while some progress has been made, the prices continue to rise. As state Health Care Advocate Ted Doolittle said, “The carriers are right that high medical prices are driving premium hikes. But that just leads to the question of why the carriers are not able to negotiate better prices.”
Thumbs up to signs that a female beluga whale at Mystic Aquarium who had taken ill is showing signs of recovery. The aquarium said
last month that the whale, one of five to arrive in May from a Canadian facility, had "several concerning health complications, including a low white blood cell count and gastrointestinal issues." It said at the time the whale was "extremely ill and failing." This followed the death of one of the five belugas, a male, on Aug. 6. The aquarium now says the whale is in stable condition.
Thumbs down to the state Department of Correction, which was exposed in a recent audit for failing to routinely submit reports, not documenting overtime appropriately and not overseeing union leave according to standards. Such audits can serve as warning shots, but 15 of the 24 recommendations made here were cited in past years. One of the most egregious shortcomings involved tracking of leave time. More than $2,314,663 was charged during the audited period without appropriate documentation. If any agency should follow the rules, it’s the one that oversees incarcerated residents.
Thumbs up to what appears to be an exceptional season for picking apples in Connecticut. It’s always a welcome fall tradition, and
even more so during the pandemic. Apple farmers are lauding this year’s harvest, saying the heavy rains in July were timed well for the apple trees, which also held up well through the August storms. Regulars will have a lot to choose from in the weeks ahead, and it appears to be a prime season to lure novices.
Thumbs up to a pedestrian safety law set to take effect next month. The new law gives more power to pedestrians, requiring drivers to
slow or stop as necessary if the pedestrian is within any portion of the crosswalk. Of course, it’s up to drivers to abide by the law, but anything that improves safety for the multitude of different types of users on our roads is an important step. Also as of Oct. 1, the practice of “dooring” will be illegal. That’s when someone in a car opens a door into a moving bicyclist or leaves a door open longer than necessary. The roads belong to everyone, not just cars. Our laws need to reflect that.