This Week in State Politics: Health Care and Casinos

By Sarah Birnbaum

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June 4, 2012

 
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON — This week in Massachusetts state politics, the state House of Representatives begins debate on a landmark health care cost containment bill and Taunton residents weigh in on the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe's plans to build a casino in the city.
 
On June 5, state reps start debate on a bill aimed at reducing health care costs by $150 billion over the next 15 years. Hospitals and some business leaders are criticizing the bill, saying it would put the state’s health care industry at risk. They’re objecting to a spending cap the bill places on overall health care spending and to a tax on expensive hospitals that can’t justify their prices to regulators. The Massachusetts Senate passed a version of the bill last month that did not include the hospital tax.
 
Meanwhile, a three-strikes-and-you’re-out sentencing bill is still bogged down in conference committee. The sticking point appears to be whether to include shorter sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. A bill aimed at bailing out the Boston area public transit also seems to be hung up. The legislature will likely approve using surplus funds from car inspection fees to offset drastic fare hikes on the T but there's disagreement over whether to deliver help to other transportation agencies.
 
On Saturday, June 9, Taunton residents vote on whether they want a casino in town. The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe is hoping to build a casino there. Also on Saturday, Boston's Pride Parade winds its way through the city for LGBT Pride Month. 

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