Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's administration plans to ask lawmakers to restore $24 million for fiscal 2006 for the state's free-care pool, which compensates hospitals for some of the costs of treating the uninsured. Romney and Timothy Murphy, the state Health and Human Services secretary, will seek the money through a supplemental budget or by sending the state Legislature a letter, according to a Health and Human Services spokesman. A budgeting error led to the shortfall for the roughly $500 million program that serves about 460,000 people, the spokesman said. The Massachusetts Hospital Association had lobbied for restoration of the funds and also is opposed to proposed copayments and other rule changes to the program. A public meeting on the proposed changes to the free-care pool is scheduled for September. -- by Joseph Mantone
Mass. leaders to request $24 million restoration for free-care pool
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