I’ve spoken with many concerned constituents over the past few weeks about what measures I will take if the Trump-led Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are successful. The health of millions of Americans is at risk as an estimated 29.8 million Americans will lose their insurance and nearly 36,000 will die yearly as a result of the ACA repeal.
As a national leader on health care reform, many people will look to Massachusetts for solutions to America’s impending health care crisis. Some people have suggested that we should implement a Massachusetts version of the ACA – similar to our 2006 health care law – but that wouldn’t fix the growing burden of rising health care costs for families, businesses, and municipalities.
Each and every legislative session, we have several bills before the legislature aiming to increase affordability and access to health care services. Some of the bills try to expand subsidies so that low-income populations have access to health care, while others aim to improve regulations to prevent health insurance companies from denying people the coverage they are entitled to under their health plans.
Although these are all good proposals, they will not fix affordability and accessibility issues as long as we have a profit-driven health care model because the billion-dollar health care industry will continue to find ways to skirt any patchwork laws we pass. Health care insurance lobbyists spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to find ways to satiate their shareholders, and they will continue to look for loopholes that will maximize their profit at the expense of working families.
That’s why we need a comprehensive overhaul of our health care system, one that will shift the focus from caring about shareholders to caring about quality patient care, and that’s why I refiled my “Medicare for All” bill for the 2017-18 legislative session.
This bill will establish a health care system in Massachusetts that will guarantee that every resident will have access to affordable, high quality health care with choice of provider, while also saving money for families, businesses, and municipalities by reducing waste, lowering administrative costs, and eliminating the pursuit of profits.
With this health care reform, small businesses would be able to grow without having to keep up with rising employee premiums, employees would have the opportunity to move freely between jobs without fear of losing health insurance, and many families would not be faced with the stress of paying for health insurance or paying for other necessities of life like food and housing.
Moving to a “Medicare for All” system will help us achieve the health care reform goals that many of us share, including universal coverage, controlling costs, reducing medical debt and medical bankruptcy, and simplifying our delivery system.
We deserve a health care system where all people can get the care they need to maintain and improve their health when they need it regardless of income, age, or socio-economic status, and I urge all residents to join me in fighting for “Medicare for All.”