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Mass. legislators laud Supreme Court’s decision on Affordable Care Act subsidies

Peter Urban, The Taunton Daily Gazette

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a key section of the 2010 Affordable Care Act, preserving the late-Sen. Ted Kennedy’s vision of health care as “a right and not a privilege” for all Americans.

In a 6-3 decision authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court held that Obamacare can provide income-based subsidies to Americans in 34 states that did not set up a state-run health exchange as Massachusetts did.

The decision marks the second time the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of preserving key aspects of the law that Republican lawmakers have fought to repeal since it was enacted in 2010. Within hours of the decision, President Barack Obama took to the Rose Garden to once again declare that the Affordable Care Act is working and is “here to stay.”

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Kennedy files bill to tackle opiate addiction

Jim Hand, The Attleboro Sun Chronicle

U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III has introduced legislation he says will help the medical and law-enforcement communities better deal with an epidemic of opiate addiction and overdoses.

Kennedy, D-Brookline, sponsored the bipartisan bill with Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind.

It would create expert panels to come up with the best practices for dealing with opiate addiction, reauthorize the Byrne Justice Assistance Program that funds law enforcement and prevention programs, make the antidote Naloxone more available and provide grants for electronic reporting systems.

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U.S. Rep. Kennedy introduces bill to tackle opioid epidemic

Peter Urban, GateHouse Media

As an assistant prosecutor in Middlesex County Joseph Kennedy saw firsthand the ready path from abuse of prescription pain medication to heroin addiction.

“It’s obviously an epidemic that has touched so many communities across the Commonwealth and the nation,” he said.

As a member of Congress, Kennedy introduced legislation this week that calls for a multi-pronged effort to help confront opioid abuse. The bill adds to a pile of similar proposals that have been introduced in the House and Senate this year by lawmakers from both political parties.

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Jason Collins: The Joe I Know

  Friends,

I’ll admit it, I took the good room.

When Joe Kennedy and I became suite-mates at Stanford University, I got there first.  And I snagged the bigger room.  In my defense, I’ve got about a foot on Joe.  It seemed only fair!

Don’t worry, he hasn’t let me live that down to this day.

Room disputes aside, he and I were an admittedly odd couple from the start. He was a freckled kid from Boston studying engineering and playing for the lacrosse team. I was an African-American basketball player from California, majoring in communications and clocking in around seven feet tall.

We became friends nonetheless. He got to know my strange addiction to Cran-Grape Juice and my deep appreciation for episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (not ashamed). I got to know his love of this mythical place called Cape Cod and even to grudgingly accept the fact that lacrosse might be a “real” sport.

And to my complete surprise, that skinny white kid with his messy mop of red hair became like a big brother to me; to all of our friends. He took care of us. He had our backs. If you were ever in trouble, he didn’t ask why or how, he just said — “what do you need?”

That defines Joe Kennedy for me more than anything else; never worried about impressing people or playing it cool, just trying to do good for the people he cares about.

Two years ago, I watched Joe march in the Boston Pride Parade with outgoing Congressman Barney Frank.  As many of you know, it was a moment that stuck with me.  A moment that helped me find the courage to come out and – one year later – to proudly march alongside Joe and Congressman Frank in that very same parade.

The Joe I know showed me it was ok to let my guard down, whether we were watching TV in a Stanford dorm room or marching with thousands of Bostonians through a sea of rainbow confetti.

When it comes to friendship, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Jason Collins

Kennedy moves to increase benefits for veterans’ survivors

Jim Hand, The Attleboro Sun Chronicle

U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III filed legislation just in time for Memorial Day that would increase federal benefits to the survivors of military veterans.

After filing the bill on Friday, Kennedy, D-Brookline, said the spouses of veterans get a survivor’s benefit equal to 41 to 43 percent of what a disabled veteran receives. His bill would improve the benefit to 55 percent.

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