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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

MASSterList: Health-care squabbles | Wanted: Weed clarity




By Jay Fitzgerald and Keith Regan
03/08/2017

Health-care squabbles | Wanted: Weed clarity


Happening Today
 
Homeless health care costs
 
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation and the Pine Street Inn present the results of a study analyzing the impact on the Community Support Program for Persons Experiencing Chronic Homelessness, UMass Club, 1 Beacon St., Boston, 8:30 a.m.
 
 
Public Health Council
 
Public Health Council is scheduled to meet to take up hospital licensure regulations and regulations related to pharmacies, Department of Public Health, 250 Washington St., Boston, 9 a.m.
 
 
FBI director at BC
 
FBI Director James Comey will deliver a speech at the Boston Conference on Cyber Security, Gasson Hall, Room 100, 140 Commonwealth Ave., Chestnut Hill, 9:15 a.m.
 
 
State of Innovation
 
TechHUB Caucus provides a briefing on the state of the technology and innovation economy in Massachusetts, with Tim Connelly, executive director of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, Sen. Karen Spilka and Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante expected to attend, Senate Reading Room, 10 a.m.
 
 
Gaming commission
 
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission meets, 101 Federal Street, 12th floor, 10:30 a.m.
 
 
Water supply protections
 
Gov. Charlie Baker, Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Matthew Beaton, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Martin Suuberg and legislators announce legislation on water-quality protections, Room 157, 11 a.m.
 
 
UMass-Dartmouth president
 
Robert Johnson, selected yesterday as the next chancellor of UMass-Dartmouth, and UMass President Marty Meehan hold a press conference on Johnson’s appointment, Board of Trustees Conference Room, Foster Administration Building, UMass Dartmouth, 285 Old Westport Road, Dartmouth, 11:30 a.m.
 
 
Governor’s Council SJC vote
 
Governor's Council holds its weekly meeting with a vote is expected on Gov. Baker's nomination of Elspeth ‘Ellie’ Cypher, an appeals court judge, to the Supreme Judicial Court, Council Chamber, Room 360, 12 p.m.
 
 
Health Policy Commission
 
As its members decide whether to set a lower health care cost control benchmark for next year, the Health Policy Commission holds a public hearing to solicit feedback from patients, health care providers, employers and others, 50 Milk St., Boston, 1 p.m.
 
 
Behavioral Health Care
 
Association for Behavioral Health Care hosts a lunch meeting, with Reps. Jack Lewis and Natalie Higgins and others expected to attend, on the current mental health and addiction treatment system, House member lounge, 1 p.m.
 
 
Committee on Marijuana Policy
 
Committee on Marijuana Policy holds an informal meet-and-greet meeting, according to Senate co-chair Patricia Jehlen's office, Room 348, 2 p.m.
 
 
Moulton on the air
 
U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton is a scheduled guest on ‘Radio Boston,’ WBUR-FM 90.9, 3 p.m
 
 
‘Day Without Women’
 
On the ‘Day Without Women,’ Massachusetts women, activists and organizations rally to highlight women's importance as workers, consumers, and members of society and to oppose the Trump administration's ‘aggressively misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic and racist policies,’ organizers say, staircase between TJ Maxx and Old Navy, Downtown Crossing, Washington St., Boston, 4 p.m.
 
 
Harvard Allston partnerships
 
Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh present the 9th annual Harvard Allston Partnership Fund Awards to 13 local organizations, Harvard Ed Portal, 224 Western Ave., Allston, 5 p.m.

Today's News
 
Going red for the International Women’s Strike
 
The big question, as the Globe reported yesterday, is exactly how many people plan to participate in today’s ‘International Women’s Strike’ in Boston and across the nation. The Herald’s Maria Szaniszlo reports that a lot of women are planning to mark the day by wearing red “because the call to skip work in a show of solidarity is impractical.”
Boston Herald
 
 
Locals give thumbs down to GOP’s ObamaCare plan
 
There’s a lot of people unhappy with House Republicans’ proposal to wipe out large portions of ObamaCare, according to published reports. Though he hasn’t read the GOP plan in detail, Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, is expressing initial reservations about federal funds and the flexibility given to states, reports the Associated Press at US News & World Report. U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III is ripping into the plan as “nothing short of an abject failure,” reports Tori Bedford at WGBH. U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, who didn’t vote for the original Affordable Care Act, said the feds should be fixing ObamaCare, not junking it, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive.
One thing is pretty clear: Massachusetts is going to get hit hard – very hard – if the House health-care changes are ever adopted, reports the Globe’s Felice Fryer, in a good explainer piece on all the proposed changes.
 
 
Sudders on health commission gridlock: ‘This is not a Quaker consensus meeting’
 
On another health-care front: Yesterday’s meeting of the Provider Price Variation Commission proved that the divisions between large and small hospitals on pricing issues run very deep, with commission co-chairman Rep. Jeff Sanchez declaring “there is not unanimity at this table,” reports SHNS’s Michael P. Norton at CommonWealth magazine. Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders had the best line of the day: "This is not a Quaker consensus meeting," she said, urging members to push forward with at least some recommendations.
Fyi: As it is, the commission, amidst all the discord, did manage to issue some recommendations, reports the Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey, particularly a general call for tighter controls on hospital costs, but members couldn’t agree on how to proceed on that point.
CommonWealth
 
 
Law firms to pay for their own over-charging investigation?
 
This is novel, via the Globe’s Andrea Estes: “Attorneys from Thornton Law and two other firms have agreed to pay $2 million by next week to cover the cost of an investigation into whether they dramatically overcharged for their services in a class-action suit against State Street Bank and Trust that netted the lawyers more than $75 million. At a hearing Tuesday on the planned investigation, US District Judge Mark L. Wolf said it was the first time in more than 30 years as a federal judge that he had appointed a special master.” Where’s the money coming from? From the alleged overcharging?
Boston Globe
 
 
As Goldberg seeks fed clarification on legal marijuana, DeLeo says pot revenues should go to addiction programs
 
State Treasurer Deb Goldberg is seeking more clarifications about where the feds stand on recreational marijuana as Massachusetts gears up for future retail sales of pot, according to aWBUR report. As Goldberg consults Attorney General Jeff Sessions, House Speaker Robert DeLeo yesterday was already envisioning how the state can spend tax revenues from future retail sales of pot – on opioid addiction programs, reports the BBJ’s Greg Ryan.
Meanwhile, the Globe’s Joshua Miller reports how Massachusetts and other states are “languishing in limbo after signals from the Trump administration that a recreational marijuana market crackdown may be coming.”
 
 
Westborough tells pot shops to stay away
 
No pot clarification needed here: Voters in Westborough made that town the first in the state to slap an outright ban on recreational pot shops in a community, Bill Shaner of the MetroWest Daily News reports. A ballot referendum passed by a margin of 1,192 to 294 at the municipal election on Tuesday. 
MetroWest Daily News
 
 
WPI donation entangled in divorce proceedings
 
The ex-wife of the largest private donor in Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s history is asking a judge to stop the school from spending the more than $40 million John Foisie gave to the school, saying he hid money from her during their divorce proceedings, Grant Welker of the Worcester Business Journal reports.
Worcester Business Journal

It’s ‘cash vs. clout’ in Southie council race
 
The race between Ed Flynn and Mike Kelly for the District 2 city council seat in Boston is developing into a classic ‘cash vs. clout’ contest, reports the Herald’s Dan Atkinson.
Boston Herald
 
 
Here we go again: Southie St. Pats parade controversy
 
Speaking of Southie, another St. Patrick’s Day parade controversy has developed, with a gay veterans group complaining that it’s been denied a spot in the event this year, even though it has marched in the past two St. Pats parades, the Globe’s Sean Smyth reports.
Boston Globe
 
 
Globe editor defends banner page-one advertisement
 
Media critic Dan Kennedy reports at WGBH that there’s grumbling within some quarters at the Globe over a Boston Medical Center banner ad yesterday that appeared above the paper’s own nameplate on the front page. Globe editor Brian McGrory, in a newsroom memo obtained by Kennedy, explains and defends the advertisement.
WGBH
 
 
Ken Guscott, RIP
 
The Globe’s Adrian Walker and the Herald’s Joyce Ferriabough Bolling have moving tributes to the late Ken Guscott, a former developer and head of the local NAACP who died earlier this week in a tragic house fire. From Walker: “Ken Guscott was a successful Roxbury developer at a time when many people in Boston didn’t know there was such a thing.” From Bolling: “To call Ken Guscott a giant among men doesn’t quite take the true measure of this beloved community icon and Boston treasure. A highly educated nuclear engineer, Ken was proud of his blackness and his Jamaican heritage. He made sure young people were supported in STEM fields way back in the ’60s and ’70s. He made sure other black engineers got work when he worked in the industry.”
 
 
‘Harvard’s most famous dropout will be the school’s commencement speaker’
 
The BBJ wins the best headline of the day for its story on how Facebook founder and Harvard dropout Mark Zuckerberg will be the school’s commencement speaker on May 25. (The headline above, btw, was touted on its web front page, not on the actual story page.)
BBJ
 
 
How Boxborough handled Confederate flag controversy
 
If you haven’t yet read yesterday’s Kay Lazar story in the Globe on a Confederate flag flap in Boxborough, do so. It’s about how neighbors handled the issue of a resident flying a Confederate flag outside his home. No protests. No moral denunciations. No attempts to publicly shame him. Just a hand-written letter, followed up with a non-confrontational knock on the door and civil chat. Maybe someone can send the Globe article to Middlebury College students and faculty members, who seem to need some lessons on civility these days.
Boston Globe
 
 
FBI director mum on wiretaps, but not on his NY Giants loyalty
 
Touring the new FBI regional headquarters in Chelsea, FBI director James Comey yesterday didn’t address President Trump’s allegations that former President Obama tapped his phones before the November election, reports SHNS’s Andy Metzger at Wicked Local. But he did pronounce: "I am a New York Giants fan. And I find it painful to walk around this state-of-the-art facility, where tremendous work is done for this community and this Commonwealth and this nation and this world, and see reminders of how great the New England Patriots are."
Wicked Local

More bomb threats against Jewish groups in Massachusetts
 
This is literally getting worse by the day. From the Herald: “At least three Jewish organizations in Massachusetts were targeted with threats (Tuesday) in the sixth nationwide wave of bomb threats this year, officials confirmed. The Solomon Schechter Day School in Newton, the MetroWest Jewish Day School in Framingham, and the headquarters of the New England Anti-Defamation League in Boston were all evacuated this morning due to robo-call bomb threats.”
Boston Herald
 
 
T crime falls to lowest level in decades
 
This is good news, from the Globe’s Laura Crimaldi: “Major crime on the MBTA last year dropped to its lowest level in at least two decades, as authorities deployed more officers during peak travel times and cracked down on minor offenses to deter more serious crimes.”
Boston Globe
 
 
Becker College president tapped to head UMass Dartmouth
 
Robert Johnson, the president at Worcester’s Becker College, was named yesterday as the next chancellor of the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, reports SHNS’s Colin Young at the Telegram. Johnson is also a member of the state Board of Higher Education and vice chairman of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative Board.
Telegram
 
 
Despite a hiring freeze, Meehan hires $250K UMass aide
 
A spokesman for University of Massachusetts president Marty Meehan is defending his boss’s hiring of a new chief operating officer for $250,000 a year, despite a hiring freeze at the cash-strapped university system. The Herald Joe Battenfeld has all the details.
Boston Herald
 
 
Mass. business confidence at 13-year high
 
Confidence among Massachusetts businesses has hit levels not seen since before the great recession, according to the Associated Industries of Massachusetts. Jim Kinney of MassLive reports that the trade group’s confidence rating rose to 62.1 percent in February, the highest level recorded since 2004 and nearly double its all-time low of 33 percent in early 2009. 
MassLive
 
 
As Trump slashes EPA, Housatonic cleanup appears safe
 
Environmentalists in Western Mass. are among those breathing a sigh of relief at the news that a 13-year, $613 million plan to remove contaminants from the Housatonic River appears to be on track despite deep cuts the Trump administration plans for the Environmental Protection Agency. Clarence Fanto of the Berkshire Eagle reports that appeals to the approved GE-funded cleanup remain under review. 
Berkshire Eagle
 
 
Psychiatric downsizing worries Worcester officials
 
  UMass Memorial Hospital’s plans to slash its inpatient psychiatric bed count by nearly half has Worcester city councilors pushing back, Nick Kotsopolous of the Telegram reports. The city is asking the hospital to wait until it can study the impact that the moves would have on the city before proceeding. 
Telegram
 
 
Eaton Vance and Bloomberg to the July Fourth rescue
 
Thanks are owed to Easton Vance and Bloomberg for stepping up to the plate to ensure that this year’s Boston Pops Fourth of July Spectacular will indeed proceed. According to a report at WBUR, Eaton Vance, the large Boston investment company, will be the new presenting sponsor of the annual event while media company Bloomberg will broadcast the event on TV, radio and the web, as part of a three-year deal, as announced yesterday by the Boston Pops.
WBUR

Today's Headlines
 
Metro
 
 
Massachusetts
 
 
Nation
 
 

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