Tuesday, September 28, 2021


Does North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper's criminal-justice reform go far enough? Plus, Congress is running out of time to prevent a shutdown and default, and Oregon tackles climate change.


The nation's murder rate is up, the Senate votes on raising the debt limit, the DEA warns about fake prescription painkillers, a new version of DACA could be on the way, and John Hinckley, Jr. could go free next year.


A new Oklahoma museum honors tribal nations, while Iowa's history is back on the blacktop; mixed news on COVID-19 comes with a warning about unconventional drugs; and electric cars and buses are coming to rural America.

MA Role in Obamacare Spotlighted as Law Goes to Supreme Court


Tuesday, March 27, 2012   

BOSTON - All eyes, including some from Massachusetts, are on the U.S. Supreme Court as it hears arguments for and against the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. One of those hoping for a seat in the Court gallery today is Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, executive director of Health Care for All, whose organization worked to help pass health reform in Massachusetts in 2006 under then Governor Mitt Romney, the program upon which the federal law is based.

She says supporters of the state law were concerned about how residents would respond to the individual mandate, which requires residents to buy health insurance.

"And we've actually found it to work very well. It's an important part of the foundation of what has made health reform successful in Massachusetts."

She says more than 98 percent of the state's residents now have health insurance. The individual mandate is the issue at the heart of the arguments for and against federal health-care reform.

Whitcomb Slemmer says another concern was that employers might opt to pay a penalty under the new law rather then provide health insurance for their workers, which would cost more than the penalty.

"In fact, more employers are now providing coverage for their employees than were before the passage of health reform. And we're grateful that they really have stepped into their part of responsibility."

She says people enrolled in the new programs much faster than expected, making initial costs higher. The original law didn't address costs, but she says that's the next step.

"We are now in the vanguard of working on payment reform in Massachusetts, which truly will transform how we pay for and experience the health-care delivery system."

She says health care reform in the state has provided peace of mind for residents.

"They can sleep well at night, knowing that if they have an accident or a need to access health services, they'll be able to do that without worrying about bankruptcy or not being able to afford groceries or rent."

Federal health care reform has added benefits, like allowing children to stay on their parents' insurance plans until the age of 26, which could be lost if the Supreme Court rules against the program.

get more stories like this via email

Public schools need to minimize arrests at schools by using emergency mental-health teams instead of police officers to address behavioral incidents at school, according to a Sentencing Project report. (Adobe stock)

Social Issues

ARLINGTON, Va. -- As a Northern Virginia school system transitions away from using police officers in schools, a new report suggests COVID stimulus …

Social Issues

DES MOINES, Iowa -- In five weeks, voters in many Iowa cities will cast their ballots for local elections, and the Secretary of State's office is …

Social Issues

AURORA, Colo. -- School districts across Colorado had to get creative to ensure families could access critical meals during pandemic-related closures…

Companies behind a proposed natural-gas plant for Wisconsin hope to break ground by 2025. (Adobe Stock)


SUPERIOR, Wis. -- Legal proceedings continue involving a proposed natural-gas plant for northwestern Wisconsin. The plans have been approved by state …


PORTLAND, Ore. -- Draft rules are out for a program designed to confront climate change in Oregon, but organizations say it does not go far enough to …

West Virginia families have struggled to find and keep work, pay rent and bills, and care for kids and older relatives, and anti-poverty advocates say the pandemic has made things worse. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said lawmakers are slated to vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill Thursday…

Social Issues

RALEIGH, N.C. -- North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed sweeping criminal-justice reform into law this month that is meant to hold police more …

Health and Wellness

BALTIMORE -- Spurred on by COVID challenges, a grant from the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council to two human services providers is …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021