Not Enough Votes for the Public Option in MA Senate

Interesting look at how the sausage gets made, or doesn't. - promoted by david

Today the Massachusetts Senate debated Bill H.3452 “An Act implementing the Affordable Care Act and providing further access to affordable health care”. Progressive Champion Jamie Eldridge filed an amendment to the bill to allow for a Public Option in Massachusetts.

However behind closed doors Jamie Eldridge couldn’t get enough votes in the MA Senate to support a Public Option in Massachusetts and withdrew the amendment.

This is Massachusetts Senate, not the United States Congress! The fact that more than 50% of our State Senators didn’t have the balls to vote for a Public Option is despicable!

This proves need to spend our efforts electing more progressives to Massachusetts, not the same old stale establishment democrats who care solely about maintaining the status quo.

Attached is my twitter conversation with Jamie Eldridge.

I didn’t see any press or progressives covering this so I thought I would put it out there on the public record. I don’t have much more commentary than that. What are your thoughts?



16 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Why behind closed doors?

    If I were Jamie I would have insisted on a debate on the floor of the Senate and make people explain themselves.

  2. Not enough progressives, but

    if we’re going to get a public option through, it’s going to have to be from a major effort with a ton of organizing to hold feet to the fire.

    However many voted for Jamie’s amendment should be viewed as a baseline; with a little effort, I’m sure we could get more. Electing more progressives like Jamie and Sonia Chang Diaz would just be icing on the cake.

    RyansTake   @   Thu 27 Jun 1:39 AM
  3. The Bill is Very Progressive

    Yesterday the Senate passed a very strong bill to implement the ACA in Massachusetts. While we too were disappointed that the support isn’t there yet on the public option, we are very pleased that the Patrick administration (which filed the bill) and the Health Connector are pursuing a very activist approach to the ACA.

    The state plans to continue to serve as an active purchaser, negotiating for both affordable premiums and high quality health plans in order to be listed on the Connector, our state marketplace/exchange. This has successfully kept premium increases far below past market levels in the Commonwealth Care and MassHealth plans.

    The bill also continues the state’s aggressive oversight of insurers, actually allowing state officials to reject premium increases that can’t be justified. We already require plans to devote 90% of premium revenue to medical care – way above the national ACA minimum. That’s why health plans are sending back $57 million this year in rebates.

    Senator Eldridge and others fought off some Republican attempts yesterday to weaken the bill. We are proud of the strong support for meaningful health reform in Massachusetts from our state legislature.

    Brian Rosman
    Health Care For All

  4. We have public schools, why not public option for health insurance?

    It’s just a public option. We should go for that.

    • Simply put - single payor advocates like the good Senator Eldridge have been working with health care advocates

      or years and years to win the support of a majority of their colleagues for a public option. And the votes are not there: mostly because we have not been able to ignite a strong grassroots movement of single payor consumers and voters who can out shout the health industrial complex who have successfully mobilized a grassroots network of community based health care providers and institutions and their boards of directors.

      Meanwhile as Brian says above, folks like Senator Eldridge have been successful in stopping dozens of attempts of the dark side to to weaken our hard won ACA, and making some positive improvements as well.

      Single payor ideologues may say we are just nibbling around the edges but sooner or later we’ll hit an artery.

      • "Single payer ideologues"

        Do you have to come up with such an ominous name? Couldn’t “single payer supporters” suffice? Or even “people who want the same kind of high quality health care the rest of the world has?”

        All we’ll ever be doing is nibbling around the edges if some health care advocates are spending their time taking shots at the other health care advocates, instead of the people who aren’t much interested at improving access, cost and care.

        RyansTake   @   Thu 27 Jun 10:10 PM
        • ideologues ominous?

          Funny, when somebody described me once as a “grassroots ideologue” when introducing my Real Clout training, I sort of liked it, although maybe like you Ryan, I had always had a negative view of ideologues as uncompromising purists who made my life miserable when I was trying to build a consensus in a lobbying campaign coalition.

          I do regard ideologues as principled, strong advocates worthy of respect and sometimes even ominously powerfull

          • in terms of perceptions, "ideologues"

            are about one step away from “radicals,” which, in this country and at this period of time, is basically what we call terrorists.

            That’s hyperbole… a little bit.

            Ideologues certainly is a term that suggests people are uncompromising, which not only has a certain slant, but is also factually incorrect when it comes to most single-payer activists. (Heck, a public-option is itself a compromise, making anyone who supports a public-option the opposite of a true ideologue.)

            I’m glad you didn’t intend to insult by using that term, but wanted to point out how I’m sure a lot of people would perceive it.

            RyansTake   @   Fri 28 Jun 6:29 PM
    • And look how great our public schools are

      Do we really want the same low-quality, high-cost product we expect from government provided goods and services for our health care? Apparently, yes.

      BTW, in a public option, who pays my ACA penalty? Isn’t a state-level public option incompatible with the ACA’s individual mandate? How’s that work?

      Thought experiment — if every state had a public option, how would ACA be funded? IRS penalties?

      • Our schools are fine, in spite of the GOP

        A typical young person growing up in today’s Massachusetts has far more ability to obtain a great education than they do to obtain great health care. I grant you that the children of the 1% have access to the finest healthcare in the world. The rest do not.

        The GOP has, since the Reagan era, done all in its power to destroy the nation’s public education system. Whether motivated by racial politics (the entire “school choice”, “voucher”, and so on movements are all driven by white parents who don’t want their children attending school with the “undesirable element”) or party ideology (the right-wing article of faith that “private” is always magically superior to “public”) the resulting agenda has been to slash spending, demean educators, and distort the reality of public education.

        The reality is that until the GOP program began, the US led the world in educational accomplishment. We had the highest literacy rates, the highest rates of scientific and mathematical achievement, the highest college availability and acceptance rates, of any nation in the world.

        The GOP consciously and explicitly destroyed all that. Here in Massachusetts, we have all too many “conservative Democrats” who parrot the GOP line, and would surely be affiliated with the Massachusetts GOP if that entity hadn’t already self-destructed because of its own willful disdain for facts or voter opinion.

        Now you come and complain about the quality of our schools — after your ilk has spent so much time and energy attempting to destroy them, and after so many dedicated and loyal educators have persevered against those efforts.

        Have you no shame?

  5. Question for Max

    What was the amendment? Was it the same as S. 514, or something else? Thanks.

  6. The rate increases are a disgrace

    Honestly, I’m flummoxed by people who say that the MA Health Connector has been able to negotiate limited premium increases. I am an individual who has had the same plan through Commonwealth Choice (the one where I pay the entire bill not where the state pays all or part) and in the last 4 ½ years my premiums have gone up 93.78%.

    Yes, you read that right.. 93.78%

    Oh, and my copays also doubled. How this is the product of competent negotiations is beyond me. The first year it went up 27.01% and the state agreed to look into the small business premiums that went up a similar amount, but basically told us individuals that we could go F ourselves. I thought perhaps the following years they would make it up to us… not so much.

    Since that first year, my rate has gone up more than 10% every year and the market has been flooded with less comprehensive plans (I guess that’s what they mean by lowering the rates.)

    At this point my monthly insurance rate is almost as much as my rent and I don’t know how I’m going to afford either.. much less both.

    But please… go on deluding yourself that the MA Health Connector is doing anything positive. I’ve yet to see it, but then I only have to live with it.

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