Boston, MA — From across the state and from all walks of life, proponents of health care reform will descend on the Statehouse Wednesday, October 8 at 10 a.m. for a hearing in the Gardner Auditorium to promote a comprehensive solution to the burgeoning health care crisis in both cost and delivery that is affecting everyone.
"A successful health care reform plan has to guarantee coverage to everyone, maintain high quality and keep costs under control," said Peggy O’Malley a nurse who chairs MASS-CARE. "Our plan to set up a statewide health care trust is the best approach to do that. It would provide secure coverage for everyone while saving money by consolidating payments and eliminating most insurance company paperwork and bureaucratic red tape."
The hearing is on Senate Bill No. 686, the Massachusetts Health Care Trust—a bill that would create a state insurance fund to replace the current patchwork of public and private insurance plans.
Buses will bring people to attend the hearing from New Bedford, Fall River, Dartmouth, Bridgewater, Brockton, Northampton, Springfield, Lynn and Cambridge. Leaders of nursing, labor, medical, patient and senior advocacy organizations are expected to testify. They will be joined by many elected officials and a number of nationally recognized experts including Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine.
With costs soaring and coverage dropping, no one is immune from becoming uninsured. Last week, the US Census Bureau reported that 2.4 million people lost their health insurance, the largest single jump in the number of uninsured in the past decade. In Massachusetts, an average of 9.1 percent of residents lacked health insurance, with many more uninsured for part of the year.
A survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that health insurance premiums for employees rose by an average of 13.9 percent this year, the third straight double-digit increase. Separately, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the number of Americans who receive health insurance through their employers has dropped to less than one-half of all workers from about two-thirds a decade ago.