- Associated Press - Thursday, May 26, 2016

BOSTON (AP) - Massachusetts lawmakers have approved a bill aimed at avoiding a battle over a health care pricing ballot question.

Both chambers acted swiftly Thursday, approving the deal just a day after it was unveiled by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and top Democrats.

The bill includes a new $45 million Community Hospital Reinvestment Trust Fund.

The Campaign for Fair Care, which pushed the ballot question, thanked lawmakers for quickly approving the bill.

House Speaker Robert DeLeo said the plan could avert a “costly and divisive ballot initiative.”

Backers of the ballot question say it aims to remedy the state’s hospital pricing system, which they say unfairly provides excessive payments to a few wealthy academic medical centers while driving down wages and increasing costs at community hospitals.

Baker must still sign the bill.

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