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Contact These Movers & Shakers If You Care About These Healthcare Bills

To the Editor,

   The United States has the best-educated doctors, nurses, and medical technicians on earth. We have the best-equipped hospitals. Our laboratories lead in medical research. Wealthy people from all over the world come here for care. And yet, in category after category, the U.S. ranks at or near the bottom, including in infant mortality, preventable deaths, life expectancy, and deaths from such diseases as diabetes and asthma.

    In a comparison of developed countries, making a same-day appointment to see a doctor was more difficult in the U.S than in any others except Canada and Switzerland. In no other developed country does anyone go bankrupt because of medical bills; in the U.S., hundreds of thousands do every year. Two-thirds of all bankruptcies here are related to medical costs. Tens of millions of Americans have no health insurance at all.

    The World Health Organization recently ranked the U.S healthcare system 37th of 190 countries, including some not usually considered “developed”.

When we have the best medical care available, why do we do so poorly in comparison in meeting the needs of our citizens? The answer lies in the way we pay for medical care. 

     Our current system is more complicated and far more expensive than those in other developed nations. The major concern of many American pharmaceutical companies, insurance corporations, research labs, and hospitals has become meeting the demands of stockholders rather than the needs of patients. Medicine in the U.S. has become Big Business, with profit as the highest value.

    It doesn’t have to be this way. We have the power to make healthcare cheaper, more efficient, and more effective. 

    Right now, there are two bills in the Massachusetts Legislature that address this issue. Senate Bill #683 and House Bill #1194 are currently in the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing. These bills, entitled “An Act Establishing Medicare for All in Massachusetts”, propose a form of single payer health care. Both can be read online. 

   I would like to urge MA citizens to contact their legislators in the State Senate and House to ask them to prioritize these bills in committee in order to bring them to the floor in a timely manner. 

    The Senate chairperson of the Health Care Financing Committee is Cindy Friedman (617-722-1432); the vice-chair is Harriette Chandler (617-722-1544). The House chair is Jen Benson (617-722-2140); the vice-chair is Daniel Cullinane (617-722-2430). House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s number is 617-722-2500; Senate President Karen Spilka’s is 617-722-1640.

   These are the movers and shakers for these bills. Contact them, as well as your own districts’ representatives and senators, and ask them to move the bills along. 

   I’ve made the calls. I hope you will, too.

Mike Metzger

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