Voters have their say on medical debt, pot, mushrooms, human rights, and more.

In Arizona, voters voted overwhelmingly to lower interest rates on medical debt. In Massachusetts, dental costs were at the forefront. In Pennsylvania, former heart surgeon and TV celebrity Dr. Mehmet Oz, a Republican, lost his bid for governor.

Tucson.com: Arizona Prop 209 to lower interest rates on medical debt likely to pass

The ballot proposal to cut interest rates on medical debt leads with 75% voter approval Tuesday night, according to unofficial election results from the Arizona secretary of state’s office. If passed, Proposition 209 would reduce maximum interest rates on medical debt from 10% to 3% per year. The measure would make certain assets exempt from debt collection, such as houses, household items, cars and bank accounts. (Ludden, 8/11)

On dental insurance costs in Massachusetts –

The Washington Examiner: Massachusetts Voters Approve Obamacare-Style Dental Insurance Regulations

Massachusetts will become the first state to impose Obamacare-style regulations on dental insurance, requiring insurers to spend a certain percentage of the premiums they collect on dental care after a referendum received broad support. The Medical Loss Ratios initiative for dental insurance plans will soon require dental insurers to spend at least 83% of premiums on dental services, relative to administrative or other overhead costs, or refund the excess to beneficiaries . (Adcox, 9/11)

On mushrooms and marijuana —

AP: Vote too soon to call ‘magic mushrooms’ in Colorado

A vote to decide whether Colorado will become the second state, after Oregon, to create a legalized system for the use of psychedelic mushrooms was too early to call on Tuesday. The ballot initiative would decriminalize psychedelic mushrooms for those 21 and older and create state-regulated “healing centers” where participants could experiment with the drug under the supervision of a licensed “facilitator.” The measure would establish a regulated system for the use of substances such as psilocybin and psilocin, the hallucinogenic chemicals found in certain mushrooms. It would also allow private personal use of drugs. (Peipert, 9/11)

AP: Voters approve of recreational marijuana in Maryland, Missouri

Voters approved recreational marijuana in Maryland and Missouri but rejected it in two other states, signaling growing support for legalization even in conservative parts of the country. The results mean that 21 states have now approved the recreational use of marijuana. Voters in Arkansas and North Dakota rejected legalization proposals in Tuesday’s election. A similar initiative was pitched to voters in South Dakota, but early Wednesday it was too early to call. (DeMillo, 9/11)

On health care as a human right in Oregon –

AP: Oregon Gun Control, health care measures too early to call

Oregon voters appeared narrowly divided Tuesday night on measures that would add licensing and training requirements for new gun buyers and amend the state’s constitution to explicitly state that health care affordable health was a human right. With about 40% of the votes counted in the mail-in vote state, the results of both races were too early to be announced. (Flaccus, 9/11)

Congressional scrutiny is up in the air –

NPR: Democrat John Fetterman defeats Trump-backed Dr. Oz in Pennsylvania Senate race

Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman is heading to the U.S. Senate after a campaign filled with personal health debates and a fight for control of one of the nation’s battleground states. He defeated the famous doctor Mehmet Oz, supported by Trump. (Bustillo, 9/11)

The New York Times: Who Will Control the House and Senate?

For the second consecutive election day, election night ends without a clear winner. It could be days before a party wins the House of Representatives. It could be a month before we know the same for the Senate. Here’s the state of the race for both chambers and when – maybe, just maybe – we’ll know the outcome. (Cohn, 9/11)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news outlets. Sign up for an email subscription.


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John A. Bogar