FOCUS: MA Healthcare
GOAL: Oppose MA budget cuts to Medicaid
DEADLINE: Today – hearing scheduled for Tuesday, July 25th
We had an action item about this issue earlier this month, and today the battle goes on. Because of your voices, the hearing that’s scheduled for tomorrow had to be moved to a larger space at the State House. Now is not the time to back down. Now is the time to keep the pressure on and make Massachusetts healthcare legislation an example to follow, not a warning to heed.
LAWMAKERS PLAN HEARING TUESDAY ON BAKER HEALTH CARE BILL
Lawmakers have scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday on Gov. Charlie Baker’s health care reform proposal. The Health Care Financing Committee will convene at 10am in Gardner Auditorium to accept testimony on the bill (H 3829), which is the only bill on the agenda.“Governor Baker’s actions today speak much louder than his words. His healthcare plan would kick 100,000 working parents off of Medicaid and onto insurance plans with less generous coverage and higher out-of-pocket costs, and he’s refusing to approve a bipartisan employer assessment to help pay for MassHealth unless he gets his way,” said Massachusetts Democratic Party Chair Gus Bickford. “Governor Baker is doing the exact same thing as his Republican colleagues in Washington—cruelly stripping healthcare from the most vulnerable and calling it ‘reform.’”Background
As Governor Baker signed the state’s FY18 budget, he vetoed $222 million from MassHealth, the state’s Medicaid program, and “returned to the Legislature a new assessment on employers that he initially proposed to help pay for growing MassHealth expenses, calling on lawmakers to act quickly to package the $200 million in new employer fees with MassHealth reforms that lawmakers laid aside during budget deliberations.”
Baker’s MassHealth plan “would allow the administration to shift about 140,000 adults, including 100,000 parents, from MassHealth to commercial insurance plans on the state Health Connector.
This is the time for all who believe in healthcare justice Single-Payer / Medicare-for-ALL to be heard! We need to demonstrate support and to let the Massachusetts Legislature know that we stand for health justice and demand a equitable health care system.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Also from MassCare:
- Offer to testify at the hearings – Come add your voice!
- Send written testimony with personal stories and why we need single payer health care
- Contact you state representative or senator to inform them that you stand for health justice and single payer health care.
- Attend the hearings and encourage your co-workers, students and your friends and family members to attend so we demonstrate the support for health justice.
- Share your thoughts on social media!
Also, if you have any questions about the legislation or the hearing, you can contact the Mass-Care office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-602-7868
And here are some suggestions from Three River’s Affinity Groups (A Progressive Mass chapter):
Here is a sample:
SALUTATION: Dear Sen. Welch and Rep. Kocot, and the Health Care Financing Committee, Thank you for the opportunity to testify via email. I am against H.3829, An Act promoting affordable health care options for the following reasons:
YOUR TESTIMONY: Choose two or three key points
CITY/TOWN YOU’RE FROM
Make it real:
- Does it affect you personally?
- Has the current structure of MassHealth assisted you, your family, or your friends?
- Social equality – this bill is specific to the lowest income members in the Commonwealth. Families who live on less the $24,600. Literally balancing the budget on the back of the poor.
- Insurance insecurity – The Health Connector is private insurance subsidized by the ACA due to Medicare expansion. As we all know, the US Congress has vowed to erase this law from the books and specifically the Medicare expansion.
- Other reasons – there are so many
- Women tend to be the lowest wage earners for a myriad of reasons (caretakers, underemployment, illness, wage inequality, etc)
- Five-year moratorium on new insurance mandates (No coverage for new drugs or treatments will be considered)
- Etc, etc, etc
And here are our original action items from the last Action Together MA post:
Contact Governor Baker’s office by phone or email to let him know you oppose budget cuts to MassHealth.
- Boston Office: 617.725.4005
- Springfield Office: 413.784.1200
- CD Office: 202.624.7713
Write the Conference Committee Members from the Joint Committee on Ways and Means to let them know you oppose any new attempts by Governor Baker to cut MassHealth:
- Sen. Karen Spilka (Senate Chair): Karen.Spilka@masenate.gov
- Sen. Sal DiDomenico: Sal.DiDomenico@masenate.gov
- Sen. Vinny deMacedo: Vinny.deMacedo@masenate.gov
- Rep. Brian Dempsey (House Chair): Brian.Dempsey@mahouse.gov
- Rep. Steve Kulik: Stephen.Kulik@mahouse.gov
- Rep. Todd Smola: Todd.Smola@mahouse.gov
ADDITIONAL READING & INFO:
- From Commonwealth: Baker trying to have it both ways – Opposes Medicaid cuts in Washington, but backs them here
- From WBUR: Baker Submits Compromise Proposal For Employers To Help Pay For Rising Health Care Costs
- From the Boston Globe: Baker health proposals would hurt poor, advocates say
- From WBUR: Citing Health Deal, Business Leaders Tell Baker To Send State Budget Back
Image Source: MassCare site