News & Events

MNA Continues to Advocate for Single-Payer Health Care

Recent report to JAMA shows growing support by health care professionals for government-financed health insurance

CANTON, Mass. — As the issue of single-payer health care made headlines on Wednesday following a special report to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) again expressed its support for the creation of a government-financed health insurance system.

"Our 22,000 members have long been advocating for a single-payer health care system in the state of Massachusetts," said Karen Higgins, RN and MNA president. "As front-line nurses, we are the first to see and care for patients who are uninsured. And because our current health care system is failing we see far too many of these patients on a daily basis—patients who wait too long to be treated, patients who go without prescriptions and patients who can’t take advantage of proper education and follow-up programs. Our present system of health care coverage is failing and the MNA applauds the more than 7,500 U.S. doctors who brought this issue directly to JAMA."

The report to JAMA, which was spearheaded by Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, and former Surgeons General Julius Richmond and David Satcher, comes at a time when numerous local and national health care and advocacy organizations have been rallying around the single-payer movement—including the 22,000 members of the MNA.

In late January of 2002, in response to the Report of the Governor’s Health Task Force, the MNA issued a special report calling on the state legislature to adopt a publicly funded, single-payer health care system as proposed under the Massachusetts Health Care Trust Bill, legislation that is supported by MASSCARE—a coalition of more than 70 health care, labor and citizen advocacy groups.

"Unfortunately, we are now part of a health system that has replaced humanitarian values with the heartless tenets of the market," said Higgins, "and that needs to change. For a health system to meet the needs of those entrusted to our care as nurses, three essential issues must be addressed simultaneously and consistently: access, quality and affordability. The implementation of a single-payer system will do all three of things for the citizens of Massachusetts."