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Massachusetts health care — wonky, with a healthy dose of reality

1,000 Strong Attend Hearing on MA Health Reform -- Quite a Day!

1,000 Strong Attend Hearing on MA Health Reform -- Quite a Day!

July 8, 2005

Close to one thousand residents from across Massachusetts attended a hearing and rally today on the Health Access and Affordability Act (S. 738/H. 2777). The Health Care Financing Committee heard their personal stories about the need for health reform. Citizens urged the legislature to take immediate action by passing the bill. Health access and affordability is rapidly deteriorating in Massachusetts. More than 532,000 residents are uninsured, and 70 percent of the uninsured work

In Boston, one out of every seven Latino residents and one in nine Black residents is uninsured," noted Dr. John Rich, Medical Director, the Boston Public Health Commission. "The lack of affordable, comprehensive health insurance contributes to the disturbing racial gap in good health. Equal health coverage is an essential part of the solution to this injustice."

“I've gone without glasses for over two years because I have to choose between glasses or paying for medications. After paying $80 per month for my medicine, I can't afford eye glasses," commented Carlos Rodriguez, a Springfield volunteer with Neighbor to Neighbor. The Health Access and Affordability Act (S. 738/H. 2777), co-sponsored by 18 Senators and 57 Representatives, provides a plan to expand access to affordable coverage, control growth in health costs, and improve quality .

"A consensus is forming. This is the year for health care reform. The commonwealth needs a plan that will reduce the number of uninsured and reinforce our leadership in providing accessible, high-quality care,” said MA Hospital Association Pres. Ron Hollander. “Massachusetts hospitals are eager participants in the reform effort because we serve missions of healing. Insured patients are healthier patients. The ACT! Campaign - a broad coalition of consumers, patients, community organizations, businesses, labor unions, religious organizations, doctors, hospitals, and community health centers – supports the bill.

The Coalition for Social Justice and the Coalition Against Poverty support the Health Access and Affordability Act and the ACT! campaign, because it is a simple and realistic option to provide comprehensive quality health insurance for the uninsured in Massachusetts," said Coalition for Social Justice Organizer Debora Fastino.

“As a businessman, I understand the importance of giving employees access to high quality and affordable health insurance, said Philip J. Edmundson, CEO of William Gallagher Associates and co-chair of Massachusetts Business Leaders for Quality and affordable Health Care. “It is only fair that employers who do the right thing by providing affordable, comprehensive health care benefits are not undercut by companies that shirk this responsibility.”

Affordable Care Today Coalition collaborated with Senator Richard Moore and Representative Deborah Blumer to draft the Act and is proudly advocating for its passage.

The Act is a comprehensive reform plan that improves health care access and
affordability in Massachusetts.