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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Friday, March 16, 2007

Today's Globe: extra time on healthcare, medical examiner dispute, Humana billing error, Travaglini speculation, fruits and vegetables, autism genes, cutting healthcare costs

The ambitious goals of the state's universal health insurance law collided with reality again this week, as officials struggled to balance broad coverage for the uninsured with concerns about forcing those who already have coverage to buy more. In the end, state officials yesterday recommended dropping one of their key requirements for comprehensive basic insurance and allowing residents extra time -- perhaps more than a year -- to obtain higher-quality insurance.

Reports of bodies piled upon one another in the overcrowded state medical examiner's office prompted an extraordinary public clash yesterday in the Patrick administration over who is to blame for the conditions and how they can be solved.

Humana Inc. will today send letters to more than 600 Massachusetts senior citizens telling them they will not have to repay money to the health insurance giant because of a billing error in a popular Medicare drug plan.

Senate President Robert E. Travaglini did little to dampen speculation about his future yesterday as the board of the Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals prepared to formally vote today to offer him its top leadership position.

Fewer than a third of American adults eat the amount of fruits and vegetables the government recommends, a trend that's remained steady for more than a decade, health officials said yesterday.

Scientists found a range of genetic damage in patients with autism, evidence the brain disorder has many causes, a report from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory said yesterday.

If Massachusetts is serious about leading the nation on health care reform, we must expend as much effort on decreasing cost as increasing access, Thomas Wroe Jr., chairman of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, writes in an Op-Ed piece.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 06:24 AM
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