BOSTON (Jan. 4, 2017) - A broad array of Massachusetts organizations representing consumers, providers, health plans, businesses, labor unions and faith organizations have come together to form the Massachusetts Coalition for Coverage and Care, which will educate policy makers in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., as to the impact that could be felt if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is repealed, a development that could occur soon after President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
"There seems to be a belief among some that no matter how Congress and the president-elect act with regard to the ACA, Massachusetts will be protected because we passed state health reform (Chapter 58) in 2006," said Audrey Shelto, president of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, which is providing research and technical assistance and is a co-convener of the Coalition. "In fact, there is a tremendous amount at risk here if the ACA is repealed, including the loss of coverage for hundreds of thousands of residents as well as millions of dollars in federal funding. All of our gains are jeopardized under such a scenario."
Massachusetts has achieved the highest insurance rate in the country with more than 97 percent of the population covered. The expansion of affordable coverage has enabled improved access to care, financial security, health, and health equity. Members of the Coalition have different interests and benefit differently from the gains made in the state, but all believe that Massachusetts must preserve and even improve access to affordable coverage and care for everyone.
The mission of the Coalition, outlined in a founding principles document ratified yesterday by the group, includes demonstrating a commitment to a shared responsibility to ensure that any federal action does not disrupt the health coverage and care for residents of the Commonwealth.
The two goals of the Coalition are:
- To preserve and improve access to, and the affordability of, health insurance coverage in Massachusetts; and
- To protect the gains in access to care, health, and health equity that have resulted from near universal coverage in the state.
The Coalition will act to increase knowledge about the progress that Massachusetts has made because of the state's health coverage law (Chapter 58) and the ACA, broaden understanding of what is at stake if the ACA is repealed and/or replaced, and identify actions that the state and others can take to protect coverage and care for residents of the Commonwealth. A current Coalition membership list is attached; the group is expected to grow.
"We're proud of the progress we have made in Massachusetts, first with our state law in 2006, and then even further under the Affordable Care Act," said Stephen Rosenfeld, interim executive director of Health Care for All, the other co-convener of the Coalition. "Together, we will act to prevent disruption for our many fellow residents who have gained coverage under the law."