BOSTON, Oct. 25, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Nurses and advocates will testify during a State House hearing on Tuesday, October 26 in favor of Medicare-for-All legislation that will break down existing barriers to high-quality, inclusive healthcare, while also improving patient outcomes and creating better opportunities for workers.
Nurses and healthcare professionals represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Associated have long supported Medicare-for-All because it will eliminate artificial obstacles to healthcare, reduce costs, and save lives. MNA members see the impact of not having Medicare-for-All at the bedside every day.
"Patients come in more acutely ill than they would have if they had insurance or more comprehensive insurance coverage," said Katie Murphy, a practicing ICU nurse and president of the MNA. "A diabetic whose health could have been managed through regular doctor's visits and medication ends up in the Emergency Department experiencing complications from vision loss to kidney failure. An individual with high blood pressure who cannot afford his medication winds up with a complicated and expensive cardiac surgery.
"The problem is not limited to those who lack insurance altogether," Murphy said. "High co-pays, deductibles and inadequate prescription coverage can have the same effect as no insurance at all. Those who are underinsured will also forego necessary care and end up sicker than they otherwise would have been. And for those individuals who do eventually seek care in our hospitals, those without adequate insurance can be left bankrupted by the costs associated with one adverse health incident."
What: An Act Establishing Medicare for All in Massachusetts (S.766/ H.1267) will have a virtual public hearing before the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, on the committee's webpage. When:Tuesday, October 26 at 11 a.m. Where: Virtual Hearing. To watch, go to: https://malegislature.gov/Events/Hearings/Detail/4036
The Medicare-for-All legislation will guarantee equitable health care access for every resident of the Commonwealth through a single payer health care financing system.
All residents will be guaranteed access, without regard to financial or employment status, ethnicity, race, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, previous health problems, or geographic location.
The Act will provide access to health care services that is continuous, without the current need for repeated re-enrollments or changes when employers choose new plans and residents change jobs.
Coverage shall be comprehensive and affordable, with no co-insurance, co-payments, or deductibles.
Workers face terrible choices because of the current health insurance system, typically losing health coverage when changing jobs and facing unilateral cost hikes if working in non-union positions. Unionized employees must confront proposed health insurance increases while they try to negotiate safe and fair working conditions. This was exemplified by the St. Vincent Hospital nurses, who grappled with how to maintain health insurance while going on strike for safer patient care after corporate owner Tenet Healthcare cut off coverage. Increasingly, bargaining healthcare costs shifts the focus of MNA nurses and healthcare professionals away from critical issues such as patient safety, a quality work environment or fair wage increases.
"Our existing healthcare system leaves tens of millions of Americans behind," Murphy said. "The current system inflicts bankruptcy on vulnerable families and contributes to negative patient outcomes while enriching a select few. Nurses support Medicare-for-All because it means economic, social, and healthcare justice."
Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.