Mass. has lowest percentage of uninsured residents in country


Mass. has lowest percentage of uninsured residents in country

The percentage of Massachusetts residents without health insurance fell again last year, to a new low of 2.5 percent, the US Census Bureau said Tuesday. That’s down from 2.8 percent of Massachusetts residents who went without health insurance in 2015, and 3.7 percent who were uninsured in 2013. The figures vary widely from state to state. Massachusetts continues to have the smallest percentage of uninsured residents in the country. Texas was at the bottom of the list, with 16.6 percent of residents lacking health insurance last year. Nationally, 8.8 percent of Americans — or 28.1 million people — were not covered by a private or government health plan in 2016, a decrease from the 9.1 percent who lacked insurance in 2015. Different organizations have come up with different estimates for the level of health insurance coverage in Massachusetts, but all agree that the state has been a leader in coverage. Massachusetts passed a law requiring residents to obtain health insurance in 2006, under former Governor Mitt Romney. The percentage of residents with insurance here also grew under the Affordable Care Act, which expanded subsidized coverage to more people. President Trump and Republicans in Congress blame the law for driving up costs, and they have been trying to dismantle it. “For more than 10 years, Massachusetts has been a leader in providing access to health care coverage to everyone,” Massachusetts secretary of health and human services Marylou Sudders said in a statement. “We are pleased that today’s data from the US Census reinforces our success, and serves as a reminder that coverage is a very good platform to tackle the issues of health care affordability.” — PRIYANKA DAYAL MCCLUSKEY


Healey to sue Equifax over data breach

Attorney General Maura Healey said Tuesday that she would sue Equifax over its failure to protect sensitive and personal information of up to nearly three million Massachusetts residents. “In all of our years investigating data breaches, this may be the most brazen failure to protect consumer data we have ever seen,” Healey said in a statement. “My office is acting as quickly as possible to hold Equifax accountable for the risks that millions of consumers now face.” According to Equifax, the breach reported last week potentially compromised the personal information of 143 million consumers nationwide, including nearly three million Massachusetts consumers, according to Healey’s office. On Friday, AG Healey launched an immediate investigation to determine the scope of risk to consumers and whether the company had proper safeguards in place to protect consumer information. The AG’s Office also issued guidance for consumers in the wake of the data breach. The AG’s Office intends to allege in its lawsuit that Equifax did not maintain the appropriate safeguards to protect consumer data in violation of Massachusetts consumer protection and data privacy laws and regulations. Equifax is a credit reporting firm that businesses rely on to make decisions about the credit worthiness of consumers, therefore affecting whether consumers can buy a house, acquire a loan, lease a vehicle, or even get a job. Consumers have little to no control over the information about them that Equifax acquires. — GLOBE STAFF



Shkreli’s lawyer says to ignore his rants

Martin Shkreli lawyer says his client’s caustic online rants shouldn’t be taken so seriously. The attorney for the convicted ex-biotech CEO argued in court papers filed Tuesday that Shkreli’s recent offer to pay a $5,000 bounty for a lock of Hillary Clinton’s hair falls under the category of ‘‘political satire or strained humor.’’ The attorney, Ben Brafman, was responding to government papers last week that labeled the comments threats that should be cause for throwing the ‘‘Pharma Bro’’ behind bars while he awaits sentencing for his securities fraud conviction. A hearing is set for Wednesday on prosecutors’ demand to revoke his bail. The 34-year-old Shkreli is best known for hiking up the price of a life-saving drug and for trolling his critics on social media. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Job postings at all-time high in July

Job openings posted by US employers reached an all-time high in July, suggesting that the steady hiring of the past year will endure. Openings edged up 0.9 percent from June to 6.2 million, the highest on records dating to 2000, the Labor Department said Tuesday. Hiring also increased. But the record number of openings makes clear that employers have many jobs to fill but are still searching for qualified workers at the pay levels being offered. The number of people who quit their jobs also rose, a trend that generally means workers are leaving for jobs that pay better. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Paper airplane, play food finalists for National Toy Hall of Fame

No-frills toys including the paper airplane, sand, and play food are among 12 finalists vying for a place in the National Toy Hall of Fame. The contenders for the Class of 2017 were announced Tuesday. Also up for the honor are the board games Risk and Clue, the Magic 8 ball, Matchbox cars, My Little Pony, the PEZ candy dispenser, Transformers, the card game Uno, and Wiffle Ball. Two or three toys will be inducted Nov. 9 into The Strong museum in Rochester, where the hall is located. Anyone can nominate a toy. The inductees are chosen on the advice of historians, educators, and others for their longevity and success and ability to inspire creative play. The winners will join 63 prior inductees, including the dollhouse, dominoes, bubbles, and Big Wheels. — ASSOCIATED PRESS



Poland Spring hit with new lawsuit over labeling

A new lawsuit accuses Poland Spring water of deceiving customers by putting the words ‘‘100 percent natural spring water’’ on product labels. The federal class-action lawsuit in Maine targets corporate parent Nestle Waters North America, which is accused of bottling water from wells and municipal sources that don’t meet the federal definition of spring water. New York attorney Gregory Nespole said Tuesday that consumers paid a premium for spring water and received ‘‘common groundwater.’’ A similar federal lawsuit was filed last month in Connecticut. A panel of senior judges will likely need to decide whether the lawsuits should be combined, and where they should be heard. A Nestle Waters official called the new lawsuit filed Friday a ‘‘copycat’’ that’s likely based on the same ‘‘meritless claims’’ as the earlier lawsuit. — ASSOCIATED PRESS


Retro Nintendo version returns

Nintendo says the retro version of one of its iconic video game platforms will return to store shelves next year. The company says its Nintendo Entertainment System Classic Edition will return next summer. The 8-bit system went on sale for the holidays last year. The Classic Edition includes 30 games like ‘‘Super Mario Bros.’’ and ‘‘The Legend of Zelda.’’ Washington-based Nintendo said Tuesday that high demand has prompted the company to extend shipping of its upcoming retro version of the 16-bit Super NES into next year. Shipments of the system were slated to end at the end of the calendar year. The Super NES Classic Edition is set for release on Sept. 29. — ASSOCIATED PRESS