HEALTH

Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana defended their namesake health care bill Monday even as the measure ran into potentially fatal opposition from a third Senate colleague.

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, came out against the bill, joining fellow Republicans Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona. That leaves the GOP majority at least one vote short of the 50 votes needed to pass the bill over unified Democratic opposition.

Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET

Republicans are facing even more uncertainty when it comes to finding the votes to pass a bill to repeal major parts of the Affordable Care Act, as familiar voices in divergent wings of the party show just how difficult it is for the GOP to unite on the issue of health care.

If Senate Republicans vote to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act this week, it would affect the health care of pretty much every American.

Here's a recap of four key flash points in the health overhaul debate with links to NPR coverage over the past six months, and our chart laying out how the Graham-Cassidy bill under consideration in the Senate addresses those issues compared with the Affordable Care Act.

Unionized nurses at Berkshire Medical Center are planning to strike on Tuesday.
File photo / MassLive

The Massachusetts Nurses Association put Berkshire Medical Center on notice that they plan to strike next month, largely because of a dispute over staffing levels at the Pittsfield hospital.

Updated at 3:36 p.m. ET

Sen. John McCain may, once again, be the savior of President Barack Obama's signature domestic achievement.

The Arizona Republican announced in a statement on Friday that he opposes the latest GOP legislation to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

Senate Republicans' latest plan to overhaul the U.S. health care system ends with a massive shift of federal money from states that expanded Medicaid — and are largely dominated by Democrats — to those that refused to expand.

Varieties of marijuana.
File photo / The Republican

Before retail sales of marijuana begin in Massachusetts, researchers are studying the drug's current effect on public safety.

Open enrollment for Affordable Care Act insurance doesn't start for another six weeks. But the quirky insurance startup Oscar Health is launching an ad campaign Monday aimed at getting young people to enroll.

The company is boosting its ad spending after the Trump administration announced it would slash its ACA advertising budget by 90 percent.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health launched a media campaign encouraging parents to talk to their teens about the dangers of prescription opioid abuse.
Massachusetts Department of Public Health

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has launched a media campaign aimed at preventing misuse of prescription opioids among teens.

State public health officials hope the ad campaign will inspire parents to talk to their teens about how slippery the slope from prescription pill abuse to heroin and Fentanyl addiction can be.

The American Red Cross facility at 150 Brookdale Drive in Springfield, Mass.
File photo / The Republican

Several dozen Red Cross volunteers from Massachusetts are already working in Texas to help victims of Hurricane Harvey, with more on the way.

Kim Goulette of the Red Cross of Central Massachusetts said volunteers go through extensive training and could serve in several roles, depending on their expertise.

"They can do...sheltering, and some would be experienced in feeding," she said. "We would have our mobile feeding units down there."

Four volunteers from central Massachusetts are already in Texas.

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