Support small business: Pass paid leave this year

As the owner of a small business in Colchester, I support paid family and medical leave as a critical safety net that will support workers during times of financial insecurity, when their last concern should be missing a paycheck. Contrary to the narrative spread by the big business lobby, a new poll shows that 77 percent of small business owners in Connecticut support paid family and medical leave. When respondents learn more about paid leave, including how a range of research has demonstrated its benefits for businesses, support for legislation climbs to 85 percent. And it’s easy to see why.

Online contact lens ban is protectionism, not patient protection

The Connecticut legislature is currently considering legislation HB 6012 that would radically restrict emerging telehealth technologies and would set a dangerous precedent by legislating standards of care. Physicians go through rigorous schooling, training, licensing, and certification, and ultimately, we trust doctors to make the best treatment decisions for their patients. In the case of HB 6012, optometrists, who are not medical doctors, are trying to use legislation to dictate how doctors treat their patients.

Prospero’s tale (about first-onset psychosis)

When I was 18, I lived in a Chelsea flophouse. There was one bathroom per floor, and I had the deluxe with a tiny sink and two-burner stove for $46 per week. To my right was a guy with advanced alcoholism. He’d scream in the night, “Oh God, not again.” I tacked blankets to the wall to muffle his cries. It helped. On the other side was my best friend, Mark. I’d been crashing with him illegally when a room came free. As the prior occupant vacated, I raced down three flights to face the building’s owner, Mrs. S, whose office was at the front.

Let’s eliminate the pharmaceutical ‘gag order’ that costs patients money

Connecticut lawmakers need to continue their history and proactive approach to patient-focused legislation by passing a bill that will ensure patient consumers are not paying too much for their medication. S.B.445 would put an end to an insurance industry secret—where pharmacists are contractually prohibited from telling customers if there is an option for them to pay less for their medically necessary, and sometimes life-saving, prescription treatment options. It seems crazy but it’s true.

Legalizing marijuana is irresponsible and will harm teens

Proposing that the state will potentially raise $200 million in new tax dollars from sales of retail marijuana is misguided and irresponsible, yet this is exactly what is being suggested in the Democrat’s version of the budget that was just released. … Even though I am still a high school student, I have checked some of the published scientific research on marijuana and I know that marijuana is a harmful substance. The scientific research is very clear that exposure to cannabinoids during adolescent brain development can negatively impact areas of the brain related to learning, memory, motivation and emotion even after use has ended.

Connecticut’s finances: Not a time to mince words

This is no time to mince words about Connecticut’s fiscal crisis. It is deep, serious, and affects everyone and everything: taxpayers, businesses, jobs, social services, infrastructure, K-12 schools, colleges and universities, towns and cities, hospitals, federal funding opportunities, and Connecticut’s reputation. Let’s be clear – it’s not new. The state’s finances have been precarious for several years. But now even those who have long denied the gravity of the situation are acknowledging it.

AHCA creates barriers for victims of domestic violence

The health care bill that passed in the House last Thursday has the potential to negatively impact large numbers of Connecticut residents, chief among them, domestic violence victims and their families. Under the American Health Care Act (AHCA), buying insurance will become too expensive for some middle- and low-income victims. Abusers will use that expense, and the continuous coverage requirement, as a means to control their partner. This isn’t hyperbole; maintaining health insurance is a very real barrier for someone trying to leave a relationship. The AHCA does even more harm though, it has the potential to cut off a vital lifeline for victims by making domestic violence a pre-existing condition.

New health care act would wreak havoc on women, children, older adults

The latest healthcare plan to emerge from the U.S. House of Representatives is not merely cynical or short-sighted; it is downright draconian. And, if passed by the Senate and signed into law, the American Health Care Act (AHCA) will wreak havoc – in many cases irreversible – on millions of people in our state. Women, children and older adults – who make up two-thirds of the state’s population – will be harmed the most by this proposal.

Deadly math: Fentanyl and why the opioid epidemic is getting worse

Opioid overdose deaths continue to rise. A 2015 DEA report showed a greater than thousand-fold increase in fentanyls —potent synthetic opioids— showing up in intercepted drugs. This, more than anything, fuels our worsening crisis. The economics and pharmacology of fentanyl are game changers. Word on the street is buyer beware. What’s sold as heroin is probably fentanyl. What looks like a Xanax, Oxycodone, or Ativan could also be fentanyl.

Connecticut shouldn’t restrict access to eye care

In Connecticut, health disparities are a well-known problem among ethnic minorities such as African-Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Latinos. House Bill 6012, An Act Concerning Consumer Protection in Eye Care, is currently pending before the legislature and raises major concerns in terms of health disparities… I’m afraid it will only serve to exacerbate this divide…

Appreciation for lawmakers’ efforts to preserve funding for disabled constituents

I am the president of the board of directors of the Arc Connecticut, the state’s oldest and largest advocacy group for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). I am writing to applaud the efforts of several key legislative leaders for the part they are playing to preserve funding for people with I/DD despite the State’s increasingly difficult budget situation.