consumers

Office of Gov. Dannel Malloy

Controversy is growing around state Insurance Commissioner Katharine Wade. She's in charge of reviewing a $54 billion health insurance merger between Anthem and Cigna, but she's also a former employee of one of the companies in question. Should she recuse herself from the case? And what has been the role in all this of Governor Dannel Malloy, who appointed Wade last year? This hour, we take a closer look with a panel of local and national reporters. 

The Federal Aviation Administration issued the first operational rules to govern the commercial use of drones on Tuesday.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said this was a "huge step for innovation."

The 600-plus pages of new regulations require drone operators to pass a written exam every two years, keep the unmanned aircraft within sight and avoid flying it over people and at night. The rules also require drones to stay at least 5 miles from airports.

Ned Gerard / AP

A state judge in Bridgeport, Connecticut heard arguments on Monday about whether a lawsuit against a gun manufacturer has legal merit to move forward.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

A new kind of water contamination has shown up all over the U.S., including New England.

A federal appeals court on Tuesday fully upheld the so-called Open Internet rules, regulations backing the principle of net neutrality.

It's the idea that phone and cable companies should treat all of the traffic on their networks equally — no blocking or slowing their competitors, and no fast lanes for companies that can pay more.

Eric P / Creative Commons

As Connecticut continues to deal with the consequences of opioid abuse, a new national survey says most people prescribed painkillers in America get more than they need -- and many are saving those pills for later use. 

The owner of the gun shop where Omar Mateen, the shooter in the Orlando nightclub attack, legally bought two guns called the assailant "an evil person" who had passed a full background check.

Ed Henson, owner of the St. Lucie Shooting Center, held a brief news conference Monday afternoon, saying if Mateen "hadn't purchased them from us, I'm sure he would have gotten them from another local gun store in the area."

Henson said he used to be a New York City police officer, had worked at the twin towers in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks and retired in March 2002.

Fred Bever / MPBN

Compact fluorescent light bulbs were once all the rage, promoted as an energy-efficient way to light homes and businesses. But those spiral-shaped CFLs may be fading into history.

Maudib/iStock / Thinkstock

Connecticut's Department of Insurance is reviewing rate increase requests filed by 14 health insurance companies that range on average from 2.1 percent to 32 percent. 

In the previous installment, we reported on recent reductions in the cost of electricity supply in New England. But there’s another charge in your electricity bill that’s been rising steadily over the last decade.

Andrew Love / Creative Commons

Are you feeling overburdened by student loan payments or the growing stack of credit card bills on your kitchen table? If you answered "yes" to either of those questions, you're not alone (especially if you're a young American).

Office of Gov. Dannel Malloy

Governor Dannel Malloy signed into a law on Friday what he called "the most comprehensive strategy" in the nation for combating opioid addiction and overdose. 

Douglas LeMoine / Creative Commons

A group of state legislators is calling on the Connecticut Insurance Department to hold extensive hearings on the the proposed merger of Cigna and Anthem. The department just signed off on the other big health insurance deal between Aetna and Humana, without holding hearings.

The head of the beleaguered Transportation Security Administration told lawmakers on Capitol Hill Wednesday the long passenger lines at screening checkpoints at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport this month should have been avoided. He also said it was a "failure" on the part of the agency to get some things done.

All sorts of health information is now a few taps away on your smartphone, from how many steps you take — to how well you sleep at night. But what if you could use your phone and a computer to test your vision? A company is doing just that — and eye care professionals are upset. Some states have even banned it.

Monsanto has rejected a $62 billion takeover bid from Bayer as "incomplete and financially inadequate," but left the door open to further negotiations with the German chemical and pharmaceutical giant.

Nate Steiner/flickr creative commons

Taxpayers across the nation face threatening phone scams on a daily basis. This year, the IRS reports seeing a surge of phone scams impersonating IRS agents. 

Andrew Love / Creative Commons

Are you feeling overburdened by student loan payments or the growing stack of credit card bills on your kitchen table? If you answered "yes" to either of those questions, you're not alone (especially if you're a young American).

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader spent the better part of two decades dreaming up a museum with a highly specific, slightly bizarre theme: tort law. In late 2015, that dream became a reality with the opening of the American Museum of Tort Law in downtown Winsted, Connecticut.

CarbonNYC [in SF!] / Creative Commons

If your cabinets are filled with leftover prescription drugs, you'll have an opportunity to clean them out on Saturday. 

Randy Wick / Creative Commons

A bill that would gradually phase out single-use plastic and paper bags at supermarkets and grocery stores in Connecticut has passed out of the state Senate and is awaiting action in the House. 

A buyback of emissions-cheating cars was one solution Volkswagen offered in federal court Thursday, outlining an agreement between the carmaker and the Justice Department over hundreds of thousands of diesel vehicles that were sold in the U.S. despite not meeting pollution standards.

Car owners would be able to choose between having their vehicle fixed or accepting a buyback; financial details weren't revealed about the plan, which both the government and VW are calling an "agreement in principle."

Randy Wick / Creative Commons

A bill to phase out plastic bags at grocery stores is moving forward and it's got the support of one prominent garbage man. 

Dean Hochman / Creative Commons

Money set aside for energy-efficiency projects could soon get slashed as state legislators work to close a large budget deficit.

U.S. Cities Facing Issues Over Pension Packages

Apr 7, 2016
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Andy Uhler

A task force aimed at preventing Philadelphia from going bankrupt has urged the city’s mayor to figure out how to deal with its almost $6 billion pension deficit. Philadelphia hasn't been or isn't the only region in the country dealing with this issue, though. 

Detroit was the poster child of cities running out of money. In 2013, the city filed for bankruptcy after accumulating $18 billion of debt. The pension program was said to account for a sixth of that total.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader spent the better part of two decades dreaming up a museum with a highly specific, slightly bizarre theme: tort law. In late 2015, that dream became a reality with the opening of the American Museum of Tort Law in downtown Winsted, Connecticut. 

takacsi75 / Creative Commomns

A major group representing Connecticut doctors said it may support a bill limiting first-time opioid prescriptions if the final legislation allows prescribers some discretion. 

frankieleon / Creative Commons

Doctors in Connecticut may soon be limited to writing a seven-day prescription for opioid-based medication. It's part of an effort to curb drug overdose deaths in the state.

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear Samsung's appeal of a Federal Circuit Court ruling in the company's patent infringement dispute with Apple.

At issue in the case: What portion of the profits is a design-patent infringer liable to pay?

Apple accuses the South Korean tech giant of copying patented aspects of the iPhone's design, such as the round-cornered front face and the colorful icon grid.

Doctors have long disputed the accusation that the payments they receive from pharmaceutical companies have any relationship to how they prescribe drugs.

There's been little evidence to settle the matter, until now.

A ProPublica analysis has found that doctors who receive payments from the medical industry do indeed prescribe drugs differently on average than their colleagues who don't. And the more money they receive, the more brand-name medications they tend to prescribe.

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