Keep People Healthy

Massachusetts has some of the best health care providers in the country–for those who can afford it. No matter where you live or who you are, you should have access to quality, affordable health care.

 

1. Implement Single Payer Healthcare Now

There are a lot of great things about healthcare in Massachusetts. Over 98% of our residents have access to some kind of coverage. From quality of care to innovation at our hospitals and universities, we need to protect what is best about Massachusetts health care.

At the same time, escalating co-pays and deductibles are hurting families. Small businesses, as well as local and state governments, are being crushed by the rising costs of insuring their employees.

Republicans in both Washington and Massachusetts are trying to reduce healthcare costs by restricting coverage for poor and sick people. Instead, we need to reduce administrative and drug costs.

How do we reduce those costs while ensuring patients receive the best possible outcome? We must implement single payer healthcare. Here’s what I propose:

  • Provide healthcare based on health outcomes for people.
  • Ensure that no matter where you live in Massachusetts, you will receive high quality medical care.
  • Make healthcare affordable for everyone.
  • Ensure that people have the right kind of coverage to keep them healthy.

 

2. End the Opioid Epidemic

Massachusetts was the first state to declare a state of emergency to combat the effects of the opioid epidemic. Since that declaration in 2014, more than 7,000 people have died. Every day, five more people die from fatal overdoses. An estimated quarter of a million people are living with an addiction to opioids in Massachusetts right now.

The economic impact on our Commonwealth’s health care, lost work productivity, and criminal justice is costing us an estimated $10 billion a year. Despite the attention that has been paid to it, the opioid epidemic remains a massive and growing crisis.

The only way to stem the tide of the opioid epidemic is to treat people living with addiction. Here’s what I propose:

  • Fund enough detox beds to meet current demand.
  • Commit to long-term treatment clinical solutions that are scaled up to meet the current need.
  • Implement lifelong community-based services for those in recovery.
  • Invest in opioid education and prevention.

The stakes are too high to leave any good ideas off the table. These past few months, I convened a series of town halls and roundtables to hear from people about how the opioid epidemic has affected their communities.

 

3. End Childhood Lead Poisoning

For far too many children in Massachusetts, particularly those growing up in older homes, lead poisoning is an ongoing threat to their health and development. The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) set a level of 5 micrograms per deciliter of lead in a child’s blood as the recommended threshold for intervention. Massachusetts, however, only intervenes in cases involving children with levels of 10 or more. Furthermore, the state does not provide mandatory housing inspections and de-leading until a child has reached a level of 25 micrograms per deciliter–this is five times the threshold at which the CDC finds a child to be at risk of serious health consequences.

We must protect our children from lead poisoning. Here’s what I propose:

  • Pass “An Act Relative to Lead Abatement,” which sets intervention limits in line with CDC recommendations.
  • Fund state and local lead paint housing inspections so they can occur more frequently.
  • Provide a free lead test kit to any interested renter or homeowner and set up an anonymous multilingual tip line for individuals to report back their findings.
  • Bring incidences of childhood lead poisoning from nearly 4,000 children per year to zero.