Uncertainties over the debt limit, successful COVID-19 vaccine tests in young children, higher health care premiums in Connecticut, and audits of Connecticut unemployment claims are among the top business news items this morning.
The White House has warned that a recession could be triggered if Congress does not increase or postpone the debt limit by next month. The Biden administration said in a letter to state and local governments that leaving the debt limit unchanged would cause the Treasury to default and cause the suspension of billions of dollars to federally funded projects.
Democratic lawmakers are planning to press a vote on raising the debt limit, though strong Republican opposition is raising concerns that a decision may not be made before the federal government runs out of money. Business leaders are also joining the call in support of raising the limit due to fears about the economic impact of a default.
Pfizer and its partner BioNTech say tests of its COVID-19 vaccine have proved effective on children ages five to 11, with the companies planning to apply for emergency use authorization for doses for this age group by the end of the month. The news raises the potential for broader vaccination efforts as a new wave of COVID-19 has resulted in more infections among children.
The Connecticut Insurance Department has approved increases to health insurance premium rates, saying the higher rates are justified by increases in the cost of medical services and prescription drugs. The average rate increases are 5.6 percent for the individual market and 6.7 percent for the small group market.
Connecticut officials are reviewing and auditing the thousands of unemployment claims they received after thesurge of joblessness due to COVID-19, and seeking repayment from thousands of individuals who were overpaid. The overpayments are largely attributed to unintentional errors made by the claimant or the state’s Department of Labor.