Editorial: To your health
Sometimes new laws are greeted with disdain as imposing more and more regulation on citizens or businesses. Sometimes they are welcomed as a benefit to society. As The Bulletin reported last week, several new laws that went into effect this month will clearly benefit Connecticut residents, particularly women and families.
Prior to the Affordable Care Act, pregnancy was often considered a pre-existing condition. Public Act 18-10 requires that among the health benefits insurance policies must still cover — in the event the ACA is repealed — are maternity and newborn care. They must also cover emergency services and hospitalization — two situations that, if not covered, can bankrupt an individual or family.
Also included in this new law is mandated coverage of mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment. If we are serious about reducing the tragedies of gun violence and the opioid epidemic, services like these are vital.
While insurance companies have covered baseline mammograms, they could bill patients for follow-up procedures. Now, policies must cover mammograms, breast ultrasounds and breast imaging MRIs — procedures that can not only save lives but save money by catching cancer and other diseases early. All three of Wilton’s legislators — Sen. Toni Boucher and Reps. Gail Lavielle and Tom O’Dea voted in favor of this law during the 2018 legislative session.
When police respond to domestic calls and violence has occurred, the result can be what’s known as a dual arrest, where police end up arresting both parties, even though one may be a victim who was acting in self-defense. Public Act 18-5 directs police to determine which person is the “dominant aggressor,” thus eliminating the arrest of someone who is truly a victim. In Connecticut, police have arrested both the abuser and the victim in a domestic violence situation 20% of the time, three times the national average.
Despite that statistic, many police officers are sympathetic to victims of domestic violence. In Wilton, police have worked hard to address this issue and been dedicated to the efforts of the Domestic Violence Task Force. Wilton police use a lethality assessment to determine how dangerous a situation is and then offer victims access to help immediately.
Apparently, that is not the case across the state. Arresting the victim is exactly the wrong thing to do in a case of domestic abuse. Happily, all three of Wilton’s legislators voted in favor of Public Act 18-5.