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Friday, July 15: Fairfield Lawmakers Host Legislative Update

Fairfield lawmakers will host a Legislative Update from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, July 15 at the Bigelow Center for Senior Activities to discuss the 2016 Legislative Session.

Sen. Tony Hwang and Reps Brenda Kupchick, Laura Devlin, and Cristin McCarthy Vahey will host the update, which is open to the public.

The Bigelow Center for Senior Activities is located at 100 Mona Terrace in Fairfield.

Those with questions about the event may call 1-800-842-1421.

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Got Health Care Insurance? Brace Yourself…..

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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.

Sound excessive?

Sound unaffordable?

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
  • are not violated?

  • Isn’t it time we put overburdened consumers first instead of trying to keep them perpetually in the dark?

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 .

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Sen. Hwang Welcomes St. Rose of Lima Students, Faculty to State Capitol

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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.

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“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 .

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