Joseph Lebinski, Adjutant of VFW Post #9427, Nationally-Acclaimed National Anthem Ambassador Wendy Gerbier, Keynote Speaker Sen. Tony Hwang, and Eunice Dennie Burr Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution Regent Linda S. Paslov.
Got Health Care Insurance? Brace Yourself…..
By Sen. Tony Hwang and Sen. Kevin Kelly
Those with high blood pressure may want to sit down for this news.
The majority of insurers who sell individual and small group employer plans in Connecticut have asked for double-digit increases for next year’s policies, with average increases as high as 28 percent among plans that cover thousands of workers and their families.
That’s right. 28 percent.
It does to us, too.
The state insurance department, which must approve rate increases, is hosting public hearings in August. You can also comment online now at www.ct.gov/cid.
Raising your voice is important to send a message to state officials. But we know it takes many voices to be heard in Hartford.
In all likelihood, rates will go up. By a lot. Again.
You see, the state’s health insurance rate process is broken.
It lacks predictability, sustainability and transparency.
And it’s really a microcosm of what happens at the State Capitol when a state budget gets crafted and approved by the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.
Just like one never knows when and which taxes will be hiked in Connecticut from year to year, just try to predict and plan your future insurance costs in this state.
It’s impossible. There is no rhyme or reason to it.
What if Connecticut changed the specific definitions of what would disqualify insurers from excessive increases? What if we called for mandatory state public hearings when proposed health insurance rate increases exceed 10 percent?
We did. Democrats and Republicans supported it. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy promptly vetoed it.
Ever wonder just how high your rates have jumped, say, in the last decade? For a great many of you reading this, it’s been more than 100 percent. The unsustainable, unstable path we are on is clear evidence that the Affordable Care Act is not living up to its billing and is collapsing under its own bureaucratic weight.
Remember the vaunted promises? Sure you do. “If you like your health care plan, you can keep it” might ring a bell.
Now, guess who pays more and more for those broken promises?
You do, of course.
- Isn’t it time we shine a light on the root cause of our ever-rising insurance premiums?
- Isn’t it time we inject some sorely needed transparency into this rigged game and ensure that health care insurance consumers’ rights
- Isn’t it time we put overburdened consumers first instead of trying to keep them perpetually in the dark?
are not violated?
It’s your money. There can be no secrecy. There must be accountability. Massive premium increases must be explained and justified.
The public hearings take place in Hartford on August 3 and 4. Between now and then – and long after you get your brand new double digit rate hike notices in the mail – we’ll be on the front line of the fight to restore public faith in the premium rate review process.
We’re not going away. We won’t be silent. Will you?
Contact us if you share our frustration and want to remind the decision-makers in Hartford who they work for.
*Sen. Kelly of Stratford can be reached at Kevin.Kelly@cga.ct.gov . On the web: www.SenatorKevinKelly.com .
*Sen. Tony Hwang of Fairfield can be reached at Tony.Hwang@cga.ct.gov . On the web: www.SenatorHwang.com .
Sen. Tony Hwang on June 6 welcomed students and educators from St. Rose of Lima Catholic School. Sen. Hwang, who represents Newtown, brought students into the historic State Senate Chamber and discussed his duties as their state senator. Sen. Hwang took questions from students, explained the legislative process, and discussed how senate debates are conducted.
The students were allowed to sit in the Charter Oak Chair, which stands on the dais in the Senate Chamber. The chair, also called “The Wishing Chair,” was carved in 1857 from the fallen Charter Oak tree, which in 1687 hid the self-governing charter given to the Connecticut colony by King Charles II in 1662. The Charter was hidden to prevent British officials from returning it to King James II. One by one, students were allowed to briefly sit in “The Wishing Chair” and make a special wish.
“We had a great time and I thank everyone at St. Rose of Lima for the visit,” Sen. Hwang said. “I encourage anyone who is considering a visit to our beautiful State Capitol to contact me at 800 842-1421 or at Tony.Hwang@cga.ct.gov .”
On the web: www.senatorhwang.com .
Rep. John Shaban, Sen. Tony Hwang and Sen. Toni Boucher on June 15 hosted a legislative update in the Weston Town Hall Meeting Room.
Area taxpayers attended the event to ask the lawmakers questions about the State of Connecticut’s finances and legislation that was passed at the State Capitol this year.
Shaban, Hwang and Boucher all supported an alternative budget plan which restored the governor’s budget cuts to towns, schools, hospitals, seniors and the disabled. In addition, the lawmakers’ plan called for no new taxes, property tax relief, state mandate relief and a cap on state spending and borrowing.
Shaban, Hwang and Boucher thanked Weston taxpayers for staying active and engaged in state issues and pledged to continue working to pass pro-growth policies which put Connecticut back on a more predictable and sustainable long-term path.
Those who could not attend may contact Hwang and Boucher at 800 842-1421 or Shaban at 800 842-1423.
Fairfield, CT: “Rugby Capital!”
Championship Teams Honored by Lawmakers, Public
Area state lawmakers and residents joined together on June 10 to celebrate the major accomplishments of Fairfield’s rugby clubs.
A ceremony at Anna Liffey’s recognized the Fairfield Yankees Rugby club (www.fairfieldyankeesrugby.org) on winning the 2016 Division III National Championship and the Fairfield Unified Pegasi High School club (www.fairfieldrugby.org/u18-pegasi) on winning the State Championship.
Coaches and players were praised by state lawmakers and presented with an official State Citation for their successful efforts.
“Fairfield truly is a ‘Rugby Capital’,” said Sen. Tony Hwang. “We’re so very proud of these local athletes, and we thank the staff and management at Anna Liffey’s for hosting the post-season ‘scrum’ of a celebration.”
“The Yankee and Pegasi teams are truly special. The bonds between teammates and generations of players help these players to be the champions that they are. We are so proud of both clubs and to have the opportunity to recongize them for their achievement,” Rep. Laura Devlin said.
“We’re so proud of Fairfield Yankees on this hard earned victory. It was great fun meeting the team, their families and coaches,” Rep. Brenda Kupchick said.
Warns of Local Property Tax Hikes and Cuts to Health Care Services
The Democrat-controlled Connecticut State Senate on June 13 refused to pursue an override of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s line item veto and restore $20 million in cuts to municipal aid as well as deep cuts to health centers which provide services in underserved areas.
Sen. Tony Hwang released the following statement regarding the failure to pursue the veto override:
“Democrat Senators have caved to Gov. Malloy. There’s no other way to put it, especially when House Democrats announced that their membership would have overwhelmingly overridden the governor’s veto. Unfortunately, partisan politics in the State Senate has again denied transparency and accountability to Connecticut residents.
“As a result, the governor’s yet-to-be disclosed cuts to town budgets will become reality. Those cuts will ratchet up the pressure for local property tax hikes and jeopardize vital local services. The rug has been pulled out from under Connecticut’s cities and towns at the most inopportune time.
“At the same time, the governor’s cuts to services at health clinics will also take place. These cuts will only serve to limit access to patient care and hurt our most at-risk and vulnerable people. It’s exactly the wrong way to go.
“Why are Democrat Senators capitulating to Gov. Malloy’s cuts? Why did they choose to balance the state’s chronic budget problems on the backs of local property taxpayers, school children, the sick and the disabled? Why the lack of transparency in disclosing the specific cuts and affected communities?
“We have to change course and pass policies which put our state on a sustainable, predictable long-term path. I will continue to work with like-minded lawmakers to make that happen, but this failure on the part of the Senate majority party just adds to the uncertainty that is so prevalent throughout our state. It shows why changes must be made this November if we are to get our state back on track.”
Sen. Hwang represents Easton, Fairfield, Newtown, Weston and Westport.
Sen. Tony Hwang (right) addresses municipal leaders from the Connecticut Council of Small Towns (COST) at the State Capitol this spring. Sen. Hwang says the failure on the part of State Senate Democrats to override Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s line item veto on June 13 will hurt towns and property taxpayers and have a damaging impact on health care services to vulnerable state residents.
WHO: Senator Toni Boucher, Senator Tony Hwang, Representative John Shaban
WHAT: Weston Town Hall Meeting
WHERE: Weston Town Hall, Meeting Room 56 Norfield Road, Weston, CT
WHEN: Wednesday, June 15, 2016, 6:30 – 8pm
WHY: Please join us as we discuss the 2016 Legislative Session