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  • "Sometimes I can't believe the things you say, Tom. So let's talk about the specifics." That was a response by current Governor Dannel Malloy to his running mate (R) Tom Foley, during their CBA debate to decide the next governor for Connecticut. And I think that line sums up well the feel of this gubernatorial race.
  • A federal appeals court on Monday upheld the core provisions of two gun control laws passed in New York and Connecticut after the 2012 mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School that banned possession of semiautomatic assault weapons. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York upheld the bans on semiautomatic weapons and large-capacity magazines, but struck down a New York provision regulating load limits and a Connecticut prohibition on the non-semiautomatic Remington 7615.
  • The deadly shooting last week at an Oregon community college has an eerie parallel with the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 20 pupils and six adult staff members in 2012. Like Adam Lanza, the gunman in the Connecticut massacre, Christopher Harper-Mercer was living a mostly solitary life with a mom who shared his fascination with firearms. Both stories illustrate the struggles parents face caring for a deeply troubled child, struggles that can inadvertently lead to a volatile outcome made easier by ready access to weaponry.
  • A landmark case in Connecticut could radically change the way marijuana convictions are handled. What happens to the millions of Americans with existing marijuana convictions once it’s legal? This week, with a groundbreaking case in Connecticut, the U.S. may be one step closer to an answer. The ruling came in favor of 31-year-old Nicholas Menditto, who argued that the two marijuana possession convictions on his record should be erased now that less than a half-ounce of the drug has been decriminalized. His case was initially struck down by an appellate court, which ruled that the law pertained more to “legalization” than “decriminalization.” But when Menditto brought the case to the state’s supreme court, they disagreed.
  • Four years ago this week, after Dan Malloy pulled out a squeaker against Greenwich investor Tom Foley, the Democratic governor-elect would have been forgiven if he looked ahead and figured his re-election would be easier. The economy was still rough at the time, but by November 2014, he would preside over a rising economy, or so the forecasters promised. Malloy would be the standard-bearer of the clear plurality party with overwhelming majorities in the state House and Senate, all the easier for an agenda of Clintonian ambition. If Malloy could stay scandal-free, which he did, and if the unemployment rate would drop down toward 6 percent, which it did, surely his path in 2014 would be easier. Republicans had no fresh, compelling faces, no Chris Christie waiting to pounce.
  • Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s individual-market customers will, on average, see a slight decrease in their premiums next year under new rates approved by the Connecticut Insurance Department. Anthem, the state’s largest insurer, initially requested approval to raise rates by an average of 12.5 percent. But the insurance department rejected the proposal and asked the company to resubmit its plan using different calculations. The result: An average premium decrease of 0.1 percent for Anthem customers.
  • Meanwhile, an ambitious Connecticut plan to overhaul how health care is delivered and paid for worries Medicaid advocates, who fear doctors will have financial incentives to withhold care. The Detroit News: Michigan Medicaid Expansion Exceeds 322K More people have enrolled in Medicaid’s expansion in less than four months than were expected to sign up in the entire first year of the program, the Snyder administration announced Thursday. The expansion, called the Healthy Michigan Plan, opened April 1 with a first-year goal of 322,000 sign-ups. The state said it exceeded that projection Thursday with more than 323,022 residents enrolled. The Michigan Department of Community Health estimated 477,000 Michiganians would sign up by the end of 2015 (Bouffard, 7/10).
  • Health policy analysts at the Kaiser Family Foundation recently took a look at how four states, including Colorado, used different approaches to handle the challenges of setting up new health insurance marketplaces within the tight time frame under the Affordable Care Act. All the state online exchanges and the federal website, HealthCare.gov, faced technological glitches and delays, the foundation found. Despite the challenges, said the report, released July 28, more than 8 million Americans enrolled in new private coverage, and Medicaid coverage grew by 6 million since just before the open enrollment period began in October.
  • Medicaid enrollment is at a record high in Connecticut, with nearly one in five state residents covered by the program, according to figures from the state Department of Social Services. At the end of April, 696,007 people were covered by Medicaid, which is known as HUSKY in Connecticut. Unsurprisingly, the biggest percentage growth occurred among adults who don’t have minor children. The income limit for people in that category to qualify for coverage rose Jan. 1 as part of the federal health law commonly known as Obamacare, from 56 percent of the poverty level to 138 percent.

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