Thanks, Senator Moore
In January, Massachusetts Senator Richard Moore, one of the strongest and most expert health care leaders in the Legislature, will be leaving the State House.
Senator Richard Moore has long been the go-to person in the State House on a broad range of health policy issues. As Senate chair of the Health Care and then the Health Care Financing Committees, he was the lead legislator on dozens of groundbreaking health care issues. But not only could he speak with authority on the details in many areas, he understood that the health care system had to work for consumers first and foremost. Massachusetts' strong, consistent leadership in promoting a health care system attuned to the needs of patients is directly due to his leadership.
How critical was he to health care policymaking? A search of this blog for mentions of Senator Moore turns up over 150 hits. Here's Senator Moore making sure that employers provide adequate coverage to their workers ("close this glaring loophole!"). Here he is pushing so that part-time workers are not excluded from the employer fair share requirement. He advocated for prescription drug coverage to be required in all Massachusetts health plans (we were astonished, too, that some argued against this), and for affordable premiums in Commonwealth Care. We reported on him getting honored by the Department of Public Health (for “bold and effective leadership” on health quality), and by the Mass Public Health Association for leadership on the Prevention and Wellness Trust provision in chapter 224. In 2008, we titled one post, Senator Moore Gives Pharma a Piece of His Mind (he said, "If [pharma industry] products require that they have to give very generous gifts in order just to sell them, then they’re must be an issue … a deficiency with the product”).
His success is measured in "chapters;" laws where he played a lead role in formulation and passage. He was the lead Senate voice on the two landmark health care laws of this century, the 2006 coverage expansion, Chapter 58, and the 2012 cost control and delivery system reform law, Chapter 224. It's fair to say the ACA owes considerable debt to his leadership in Massachusetts. He also was the Senate lead on 2008's Chapter 305, which included restrictions on drug marketing, advances on patient safety, progress towards care coordination and electronic patient care records. We honored him for his work on behalf of oral health, with an award from our Watch Your Mouth campaign.
Health Care For All worked closely with him on numerous initiatives. He was always willing to listen, always asked tough questions, and always pushed us to consider new things that made our policy recommendations stronger. His health staffers were always top-notch, and all went on to play other roles in health policy. We worked together on children’s mental health legislation, prescription drug issues, MassHealth benefits, patient and family advisory councils, primary care workforce expansion, infection control, and on and on. We always would cringe when we looked at the list of bills he filed, because he always set the record for the most bills introduced by a legislator. As he wraps up his time in the Senate, HCFA wants to thank him and wish him all the best in the next chapter in his life.