The least sexy ballot question 🦷

Plus: Boston rats are going to hate this announcement.

 It's Thursday, Boston.

☀️ Hate to remind you, but there’s less than two weeks until 4:30 p.m. sunsets, so get outside and enjoy the free Vitamin D today while you still can.

👀 What’s on tap today:

  • The Orange Line will be slow through December

  • About Boston’s “rat buffet”

  • Dunkin’ round the world

Up first…


Let's talk about dental insurance regulation

Illustration: Katie Cole

I know, it’s not my topic of choice either, but if Question 2 passes, its impact could be used as a model for other states, so all eyes are on Massachusetts. Let’s get into it.

What’s Question 2 again? It essentially asks voters if they think dental insurance companies should be required to spend a certain percentage of premiums on actual dental care, not administrative costs or profit. You can read the actual language on the Secretary of State’s website here.

Two main things would happen if the “yes” vote wins:

  1. 83 cents of every dollar a patient spends on their premiums would go toward their dental work. This kind of minimum spend, a.k.a. a “medical loss ratio,” currently exists for health insurers, but not dental.

  2. The state would have more oversight over dental insurance providers. Dental insurers would have to share financial info, including what they spend on patient care, with the state; the state would also be able to block “unreasonable” dental premium price hikes; and more.

Will my dental costs increase if the “yes” vote wins? Maybe a little, but not by much, estimates say. The thought is that most dental insurers could adapt to the 83 percent threshold by covering more procedures or allowing dentists to charge more for procedures. If the latter happens, that’s where you’ll potentially see an increase in what you pay, but again, it’s likely nothing major.

If my dental costs don’t really change under Question 2, what does? Transparency. We don’t know how much dental insurance companies currently spend on patients because they’re not required to share that information with the state. Shedding light on the dental insurance market could create more transparency for policy changes down the road.

What happens if the “no” vote wins? Nothing changes. But you should still floss daily.


Quick & Dirty Headlines

Image: Disney+ via Giphy, Illustration: Katie Cole

🐌 Expect delays and slow zones on the Orange Line into December. That’s the timeline MBTA GM Steve Poftak gave Sen. Ed Markey this week in response to Markey questioning the Orange Line’s persistent delays post-shutdown. To add to the pile on, travel time data analyzed by TransitMatters also revealed that Orange Line trips are overall taking longer compared to pre-shutdown. Just when you thought the T can’t get any worse, it said, “hold my beer.”

🦠 Local doctors are pretty sure the XBB COVID variant is already in Boston. What’s their thinking? It’s already been detected in New York. XBB is a descendent of omicron that can evade immunity and may be immune to current vaccines. Doctors’ biggest worries are whether the new variant can evade treatment from monoclonal antibodies and the bivalent booster shot (and we still don’t even how effective the latter is).

🐀 Boston City Councilors are looking to cut off the “rat buffet.” Translation: They want to prevent residents from leaving trash bags on the street so the rats can’t endlessly feast. Councilors met yesterday to discuss the possibility of “a trash containerization pilot” to reduce the issue and improve Boston’s ranking as the second most rat-infested metro area in the country. What’re the rats’ favorite thing to snack on? Dog feces, Councilor Michael Flaherty said, in a disgusting twist.


Happy Hour Food Deals

Illustration: Katie Cole

🍸 Sip on a mini espresso martini for $7 and nosh on discounted snacks at Barcelona Wine Bar. Happy Hour deals are Monday through Friday from opening until 6 p.m.

🍕 Enjoy an appetizer, a pizza, and a dessert for $18 at Posto in Davis Square. The deal runs Monday through Thursday 5-6 p.m., and you can only get it if you sit at the bar.

🍔 Get a burger with fries, plus a glass of wine or beer for $29 at The South End Buttery. Burger Nights are on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m. This may seem steep, but just a burger and fries there normally runs you $25.

🦪 Slurp on some $1 oysters at Waypoint in Cambridge (two dozen max). Enjoy the deal Monday through Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. throughout the restaurant; Friday and Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the bar; and all day Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. wherever you’re seated.

😋 Take advantage of half-priced apps at Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar in Davis Square. Pop in Monday through Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m. Happy hour specials are first come, first served, and seating is limited.


Dunkin' round the world

Photos: u/sajatheprince, u/brg36, u/LePoultry-geist, Gif: Katie Cole

Dunkin’ has been having a moment, internationally speaking. Reddit users on the r/Boston community have been sharing photos from Dunkin’ locations around the world, leaving locals feeling a little ... jealous? One Cambridge resident wrote: “We need a serious investigation on why we don't have this here.”

Seoul Dunkin’ has fun packaging. Stockholm Dunkin’ has Nutella-filled doughnuts. Doughnuts from Berlin’s Dunkin’ look gourmet. Boston Dunkin’ has … Ben Affleck?

You know what they say, the grass is always greener and someone else’s doughnuts are sweeter.

🤌 Thanks for reading! You can spot me skimming through Boston magazine’s annual guide to the best 50 restaurants in Boston. I can personally attest that Chickadee and Branchline are *chef’s kiss*.

💃 For more hot takes and late night thoughts, follow me on Twitter and IG @emilyschario. Send comments and suggestions to [email protected].

Correction: To adapt to Question 2 if enacted in Mass., insurers could allow dentists to charge more for procedures, not charge dentists more for procedures. This story has been updated.