Our Healthcare System In Mass. Need to Be Fixed
To the Editor,
As medical costs continue to increase alarmingly, it is evident that our current health care system in Massachusetts needs to be changed. There is legislation currently in committee in the state legislature that addresses the problem, notably House Bill 1194 and Senate Bill 683.
Unfortunately, another bill that has been introduced in the House seems designed to avoid dealing with the problem. House Bill 1163 (An Act Establishing a Special Commission to Study the Implementation of Single Payer Health Care in the Commonwealth) proposes a commission consisting almost entirely of representatives of big insurance companies.
There is no representation for providers (doctors, nurses, hospitals) on the proposed commission, nor for working people, senior citizens, low-income people, people with chronic illnesses/disabilities, or for any organization that advocates for a single-payer plan. Governor Baker, who for years was CEO of Pilgrim Health Care, gets to appoint two members.
It seems evident to me that such a commission will produce findings that will serve the insurance industry rather than the people of the Commonwealth. By some people, this bill is seen as a sort of smoke screen for Democrats who want to appear to support universal health care, but whose campaigns have been heavily reliant upon donations from insurance companies.
According to one source (Truthout, 10/31/18), for example, Representative Joseph Kennedy III has received over $500,000 in donations from pharma and insurance companies in his career, with two of his largest recent donors being Cardinal Health and Partners Healthcare; Representative Richard Neal has received over $1,000,000 from pharma and insurance, with Blue Cross Blue Shield and AETNA among the major ones.
I find HB 1163 to be nothing much more than a scam to make sure private insurance companies control MA health care, with profits their primary motivation. By supporting it, Democrats can appear to be working for improved care, but will in fact be allowing insurance companies to retain the status quo, with the costs of care continuing to rise along with their profits and their campaign donations.
I urge you to contact your representative in the MA House, as I have mine, to ask his/her position on HB 1163. Please urge him/her to oppose it. (And, while you’re at it, you might also urge him/her to support HB 1194. And ask your state senator to support SB 683.)
I think this is an important issue and don’t want to see it kicked down the road again.
Michael H. Metzger
10 East St.