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

New Chapter Opens in MA Health Reform Today

New Chapter Opens in MA Health Reform Today

August 3, 2005

Today, a coalition organized as MassACT (Affordable Care Today) will file an initiative petition for a law to achieve health reform in November 2006 if legislative reform efforts fail or fall short. The initial Coalition includes Health Care For All, FamiliesUSA, the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, the Mass. AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union, Neighbor to Neighbor, and the Coalition for Social Justice. MassACT is the ballot initiative committee. The ACT! Coalition is the legislative group promoting the Health Access and Affordability Act, filed by Sens. Moore and Montigny and Rep. Blumer. The proposed initiative would: 1. Help uninsured workers and small businesses buy affordable health insurance on a sliding scale 2. Expand MassHealth for lower income uninsured working adults 3. Lower health premiums for all currently insured -- with an immediate cut of $160 million annually to every health insurance policy holder in Massachusetts 4. Require fair payments for hospitals, physicians and health centers to end the cost shift to private insurance premiums 5. Level the playing field between businesses that provide insurance and those that don't by establishing a Fair Share assessment on employers who don't provide health insurance to their workers 6. Raise cigarette taxes 60 cents 14 persons signed the petition filed today with the Office of the Attorney General: Sen. Mark Montigny, Cong. Jim McGovern, Kathy Casavant, Philip Edmundson, Rev. Ray Hammond, Elmer Freeman, Chip Joffe Halpern, Rabbi Jonah Pesner, Rocio Saenz, Zoila Torres Feldman, Phil Villers, Celia Wcislo, Dr. Barry Zuckerman, and John E. McDonough. The Coalition must collect 65,000+ voter signatures this coming fall. More to come on that in September. For more information, contact MassACT's Lisa Vinikoor at vinikoor@massact .org The plot is thickening...