News & Events

Senator Steven Tolman Announces Approval Of Bill To Mandate Single Payer Health Care Study

The MNA applauds the legislature for taking action today to approve a bill that mandates study of a single payer health care system to replace the current dysfunctional free-market system that has failed the residents of the Commonwealth. The MNA has long-supported comprehensive and real reform of the health care system under a single payer model as the most efficient, high quality and cost effective approach to providing health care for all in Massachusetts.

Senator Steven Tolman Announces Approval of Bill to Mandate Single Payer Health Care Study
Contact: Kate Regnier, 617.722.1280

BOSTON – Senator Tolman today announced that the House and Senate have approved a bill that mandates an analysis by the state of the effects of a single payer health care system. A single payer system would replace the current fragmented mixture of public and private health care plans with a single uniform plan.

The bill requires that a study be made of, among other things, both the cost and the potential savings associated with the implementation of a single payer health care system. The bill further requires that a study be made of the impact on Massachusetts residents, the Commonwealth’s budget, health care professionals and institutions, the Medicare and Medicaid systems, and state and federal laws and regulations. An interim study must be filed with the general court by December 1, 2004, with the final report due by April 1, 2005, along with relevant draft legislation if necessary.

Massachusetts currently faces a crisis in its health care system, with studies indicating that approximately 1.5 million individuals under the age of 65 were uninsured at some point during 2002/2003. One of the primary arguments advanced by opponents of a universal health care system is the potential cost to the state. However, a comprehensive study of the costs as well as the myriad benefits (both financial and otherwise) has not previously been performed by the Commonwealth.

"With literally millions of people un- or underinsured, despite the exorbitant amount of money that we spend on health care, it seems clear that our current health care system is broken," said Senator Tolman. "We took powerful strides toward remedying that situation with the passage of the health care constitutional amendment last week. This study is vitally important and should highlight the waste and inefficiency that is endemic in our current health care system. We must continue to be vigilant, however, in exploring solutions that would offer affordable, quality health coverage to everyone."

The bill will now go to Governor Romney for his signature.