CommonHealth Volume 2, Number 3 ~ Fall 2006 Universal Health Care Education Fund New “Universal“ Health Bill Raises False Hopes Massachusetts Heath Care Trust Bill Being RefiledEven as MASS-CARE members strive to monitor, critique Without fundamentaland demythologize Chapter 58 of the Acts of 2006, we structural reforms, to cutwork to sharpen our single-payer, universal healthcare bill, bureaucratic overhead and the Massachusetts Health Care Trust, achieve cost savings, each for submission to the new legislative and every one proved session which begins in January. Our unsustainable. Legislative Committee has been meeting (Pictured: Jane Hamill, Barbara with our lead sponsors, Senator Steve Ackermann, Ben Day and John Healey) Tolman and Representative Frank Hynes, as well as many other legislators and activists from across the state. In June, the MASS-CARE Coordinating Committee voted MASS-CARE’s Legislative Committee, to endorse the initiative to amend the Massachusetts working hand- constitution to make access to comprehensive, affordablein-hand with our Coordinating health insurance a right of all who reside here. Despite aCommittee, is in the final stages passionate and clear-headed floor fight led by Senatorof updating our bill. Steve Tolman, this citizens’ initiative was sent to a study(Pictured: Ann Eldridge Malone, Alliance committee which has never met. But the fight goes on,to Defend Health Care, and Susanne with the Constitutional Convention due back in session atKing, Berkshire MASS-CARE) 2 PM on January 2nd.Our executive director Benjamin Day has created apowerpoint presentation analyzing Chapter 58 andcomparing it to all prior state-based incremental reformefforts, such as Hawai’i’s and Oregon’s. On enactment,each plan was hailed as “universal,” each resulted in asharp drop in the number of uninsured initially, and eachfailed to maintain that progress in subsequent years. Sen. Steve Tolman addresses a State House rally for the healthcare amendment in May. (State House News Service photo) Click on our web site to view or download our Chapter 58 powerpoint presentation. Contact us to make arrangements forMembers of the Legislative Committee strategize with Rep. Frank a showing in your community.Hynes: Vic Bloomberg, Judy Deutsch, Sandy Eaton, Ben Day, LeoStolbach, Rep. Hynes and Pat Downs Berger.
2006 Ben Gill GalaBraving monsoon-like weather, single-payer supporterscame from across Massachusetts to the Dante Alighieri Executive director Benjamin DayCultural Center in Cambridge on May 13th for the MASS- watches as Arky Markham models her new single-payer cap. Arky,CARE/UHCEF annual Dr. Benjamin Gill Awards Dinner. ninety years old at the time, continues her lifelong commitment Richard Sherman shared to peace and justice in the Pioneer personal insights and humorous Valley, on the state level and moments from the life and times globally. of Ben Gill, a retired psychiatrist who steadfastly championed fundamental healthcare reform through MASS-CARE and in the formative period of the Ad Hoc Rand Wilson, co-chair at the time of the Jobs with Committee to Defend Health Justice Health Care Action Committee, and Diane Dujon Care, now the Alliance to Defend of the UMass Boston School of Public Service were our Health Care. keynote speakers, helping us appreciate the connections involved in our work.Peggy O’Malley, MASS-CARE chair emerita, and AlanSager and Debbie Socolar from the BU School of Public Award presenters were Barbara Ackermann, SteffiHealth’s Access and Affordability Project received Woolhandler and Sandy Eaton. Joseph Lillyman assembledawards this year for their years of dedicated service, once again his talented quartet. Food was catered by thecombining theory and practice, in the fight for a just renowned S&S diner. But the special treat was thehealthcare system. A special surprise award was bestowed camaraderie of shared experiences in the struggle by allon Katie Murphy, former chair of the Framingham Board present.of Selectmen, for her valiant fight for health access andadequate services for all in our community. (Alan Sager John Horgan of IBEW 2222 andwas unable to attend due to a very important prior Jobs with Justice confers withcommitment.) Kathleen Bridgewater of the Hampshire-Franklin Health CareThe Massachusetts Nurses Coalition and Amherst League ofAssociation was well Women Voters. Both are activerepresented by Donna Kelly- with Healthcare-NOW! -Williams, VP, Roz Feldberg, building support forstaff researcher, and Representative John Conyers’president Beth Piknick. Medicare for All bill, HR.676. Rand Wilson, Working Families Party candidate for State Auditor, and Jill Stein, Green-Rainbow Party candidate for Secretary of State, brought enthusiastic bipartisan support to our single-payer celebration. Save the date! 2007 Ben Gill Gala Ryles Jazz Club, Cambridge Saturday, March 24, 2-4 PMSpeakers and awardees: Debbie Socolar, Katie Murphy, Peggy Robert Kuttner, keynoteO’Malley, Rand Wilson, Steffi Woolhandler and Diane Dujon.
National Campaigns: HR.676 & HR.5864On October 21st, a broad coalition led by Jon Weisman of Ajamu Sankofa came to thethe National Association of Letter Carriers and Western Holyoke hearing representing Healthcare-NOW! - the nationalMassachusetts Jobs with Justice came together at movement dedicated to pushingHolyoke Community College for a Congressional hearing on Medicare for All until victory.the healthcare crisis and to promote HR.676, the Information on this campaign mayMedicare for All bill with lead sponsors John Conyers, be obtained from its web site:Dennis Kucinich, Jim McDermott and Donna Christensen. http://www.healthcare-now.org.US Representative John Olver presided. Former The United States National Health Insurance ActNorthampton mayor Mary Ford moderated. Three panels establishes an American-style national insurance program.of presenters led off, one each on access, affordability The bill would create a publicly-financed, privately-and quality. Ample time was allowed for taking testimony delivered health care program that uses the alreadyfrom those in attendance as well. existing Medicare program by expanding and improving it to all US residents and all residents living in US territories. The goal of the legislation is to ensure that all Americans will have access, guaranteed by law, to the highest quality and cost-effective healthcare services regardless of one’s employment, income, or health care status. A parallel development is the introduction of HR.5864, the Health Partnership Through Creative Federalism Act, described by its author, Representative Tammy BaldwinBob Lawson, Massachusetts Senior Action Council treasurer, Patricia (D-WI), as “a serious, bipartisan effort to break theHealey, MNA Region 1 president, and moderator Mary Ford logjam in Congress and develop plans to ensure health care coverage for all.” Co-sponsors include Representative TomLively discussions marked this event, with several Price (R-GA), Representative John Tierney (D-MA) andparticipants coming to the mike to offer their Representative Bob Beauprez (R-CO). “We believe theexperiences with health care in other countries, where federal government should be helping the states as theyhealth care is considered a right and not a commodity. try new approaches, not hindering them. ... Our plan would allow the potential for freedom from certain federal Frank Olbris, chair of the Franklin-Hampshire regulations and authorizes grants to individual states, or Health Care Coalition, offers testimony in groups or portions of states, to enact the strategy best Holyoke. suited for them to ensure greater health insurance coverage.” HR.676 now has a total of seventy- eight congressional sponsors. Two Maybe Massachusetts activists will set a goal of getting hundred and twelve union organizations our delegation on board with this one. have passed resolutions of support, including fifty-three Central Labor Councils and Area Labor Federationsand seventeen state AFL-CIOs (KY, PA, CT, OH, DE, ND,WA, SC, WY, VT, FL, WI, WV, SD, NC, MO and MN).Grassroots pressure for change is mounting.All of Massachusetts’ representatives in Congress havesigned on to this critical piece of legislation except EdMarkey, who supports an alternate version proposed bySenator Ted Kennedy, and Richard Neal. We still have ourwork cut out for us in Massachusetts.
Cape Care and presented single payer as the only way to go. Mel King spoke, linking our struggle to a broader context, pointingMASS-CARE’s August statewide meeting took place in the out the health needs of poorer communities, such as theProvincetown Public Library. Folks came from near and one targeted for the BU bioterror lab.far, by boat and car, to discuss the amazing grassrootsupsurge called Cape Care, an attempt to craft a universal, Marcia Angell, editor emerita of the New England Journal ofsingle-payer system in a single county. The overwhelming Medicine, Carlos Da Silva of themajority of towns on the Cape have endorsed this Massachusetts Association ofapproach, either through town meeting or town council, Portuguese Speakers andwith discussion now centered on the county government. MASS-CARE executiveSince then, the Cape Care Coalition has voted to join director Ben Day participate in the discussions.MASS-CARE, and of course MASS-CARE has agreed. Tofind out more about Cape Care as it evolves, go to its web Mel cited Alice Walker quoting Albert Einstein on thesite http://www.capecare.info. inability of those who created a crisis to solve it. Arnold Relman countered with the point that physicians, with the power to spend large sums of money, both contribute to the problem and need to be called upon to help solve it. Mel quietly observed that he was only quoting Einstein. Mel, the only African-American in the room, also observed that the composition of our movement does not include a lot of the folks most severely impacted by poor health care. Ben was called upon to present the print version of his powerful powerpoint presentation. He graciously skipped through most of them, stopping to highlight some especially useful information. This material is dynamite, and puts all our arguments into a solid context. No oneProvincetown participants: Brian O’Malley, Ben Day, Pat Downs seemed in a great hurry to leave!Berger, Joseph Lillyman, Frank Olbris, Vic Bloomberg and CynthiaFranklin. Arnold Relman, Leo Stolbach, Jackie Wolf and Jerome MASS-CARE Advisory Board Reinvigorated Grossman follow Ben Day’s presentation of the Chapter 58Shortly after the MASS-CARE coalition came together, powerpoint text.its leaders created a group of knowledgeable people theycould turn to as they sought to guide the health care trustbill through the shoals of the legislative process. Althougha few individuals were regularly tapped for help, thisAdvisory Board remained underutilized until recently. (Photos by CommonHealth editor Sandy Eaton unless otherwise noted.)From a list of nineteen prominent names on paper, thisbody has grown in recent weeks to several scoreindividuals, some of whom were on the original list, butmost of whom were found more recently to be eager to Universal Health Care Education Fund (UHCEF)participate in our work, bringing their expertise and c/o MASS-CAREreputations to bear on the building of our movement. 8 Beacon Street, Suite 26 Boston, MA 02108The first gathering of this body took place on November P: 617-723-700129th in the historic Amy Lowell House in Brookline, where F: 617-723-7002twenty five people from across the Commonwealth firstname.lastname@example.org. After a lengthy round of self-introductions, www.masscare.orgMarcia Angell exposed the business model of health care