Testimony on An Act establishing Medicare for all in Massachusetts
Updated: Sep 27, 2019
Dear Chairs Friedman and Benson,
Thank you for allowing me to make the case for House Bill 1194/Senate Bill 683, An Act establishing medicare for all in Massachusetts. The federal government has failed to find a solution for the rising healthcare costs in the country, so the duty falls upon us to take care of Massachusetts residents.
The single payer system that is established by this bill has been proven successful around the world. It improves access to care, reducing costs because patients are able to receive care earlier before their condition becomes more serious and expensive to treat. A single-payer system would also bring down the price of prescription drugs because the state would have bulk purchasing power. The system also cuts administrative costs, which have been a major contributor to the rising costs of insurance in Massachusetts. A single-payer healthcare system in Massachusetts would save the state $21 billion in healthcare spending. Costs can be reduced for people, businesses, and the government without a decrease in the quality of care.
In addition to reducing costs, a single-payer system makes healthcare equitable for all people. 2.5% of residents in Massachusetts are currently without health insurance mandated under the 2006 law, An Act providing access to affordable, quality, accountable health care. Although that may seem like a small number, the percentage of uninsured people is higher among minority and low-income communities. In 1966, Martin Luther King Jr. spoke to the Medical Committee for Human Rights. He stated that, “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare in the most shocking and inhumane.” More than 50 years later, the rampant inequality in our healthcare system still exists in our country, even in Massachusetts which we consider to a paragon of healthcare in the United States. By virtue of being uninsured or under-insured, these disadvantaged communities are higher risk for disease, and even death.
In my experience, I find that even our populations covered under MassHealth struggle to find providers that accept that form of insurance. I have personally struggled to find providers for my foster children that accepted MassHealth; most databases are not kept up-to-date, and providers are difficult to find even in our larger cities. Even when MassHealth subscribers find a provider that accepts the insurance, it can lead to long wait times, increasing the potential for negative health outcomes. Moving to a Medicare for All system would alleviate that massive problem that our most vulnerable communities face.
Massachusetts is the shining beacon of healthcare in the United States. We have some of the best professionals and facilities, not only in the country, but in the entire world. What good are those professionals and facilities though for a person who does not have the money to access them? Healthcare is an economic issue, but it is also a moral issue. A single-payer system provides a solution to both problems, lowering costs while paving the way for more equitable access. This bill ensures that Massachusetts will be a beacon of healthcare for all people, not just the rich.
Thank you for allowing me to make the case for this bill and I strongly urge the committee to support this bill so everyone in Massachusetts can access the healthcare they deserve.
6th MIDDLESEX DISTRICT