Single-day effort will focus on securing ‘Yes’ vote at May 10 state Constitutional Convention
Massachusetts telephone workers, nurses, hospital caregivers, truck drivers, skilled trades people, public service employees, and other workers will be taking action on Thursday, March 30 to send a message to state legislators: “It’s time to make health care our right!”
The workers are members of the more than 50 organizations participating in a statewide Health Care Action Day organized by the community-labor coalition Jobs with Justice. Joined by many community and health advocacy groups, workers will be signing post cards to their legislators seeking support for an amendment to the state constitution making health care insurance coverage a collective right, just like education is now.
The signed post cards collected on March 30 will ask legislators to “vote yes” at a May 10 state Constitutional Convention where the amendment must get at least 50 votes to appear on the November 7, 2006 ballot.
“No matter what health care reforms emerge from the Legislature this session, it’s clear we need this amendment to ‘lock-in’ any gains and build momentum to finish the job,” said Rand Wilson, co-chair of Jobs with Justice’s Health Care Action Committee. “The Constitutional Amendment is an opportunity to move towards a real solution to the health care crisis in Massachusetts.”
The Constitutional Amendment would require the state to guarantee every Massachusetts resident access to affordable coverage for medically necessary health and mental health care services including prescription drugs and devices. However, the amendment does not restrict the Legislature on how to provide that access. Sent to legislators as a ballot petition by 71,385 registered voters in July of 2004, the Amendment received overwhelming, preliminary approval with 153 votes – far surpassing the required 50. If the Amendment receives a second “yes” vote at the May 10 Constitutional Convention, it will then go to voters for final ratification on November 7, 2006. Voters will have final approval over any plan that meets all the standards set out in the Amendment.
For more information about the campaign, visit www.healthcareformass.org. To learn more about Jobs with Justice, visit www.massjwj.net.