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Tipsheet

Massachusetts Considering Single-Payer Healthcare System

Massachusetts considering a single-payer healthcare system for the state, dubbed "Mass-Care." Lawmakers are currently debating a bill that would move private insurance to a single-payer system for all Massachusetts residents.

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BOSTON – State lawmakers heard arguments Tuesday in favor of a single-payer health insurance system for Massachusetts, with proponents testifying that more needs to be done despite the advances brought on by state and federal law.

“I acknowledge that in Massachusetts we have a great health care system, but it is not a system that works for everyone,” Sen. Jamie Eldridge, D-Acton, said at a Joint Committee on Health Care Financing hearing. “Almost every developed country provides it to their citizens as a right … and we need to take a look at addressing it as a right here in Massachusetts.”

Mr. Eldridge is a sponsor for S.579, a bill that would move health care insurance from private companies to a single-payer system, in which the state insures all citizens. A comparable bill H.1026 has been filed by Rep. Tom Sannicandro.

Despite the nation's highest health insurance coverage rate, about 200,000 Massachusetts residents still lack insurance coverage as of 2015. Despite the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, insurance plans in Massachusetts have not decreased in price by any measurable amount.

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Despite Massachusetts' liberalism and record of embracing healthcare reform, this probably isn't going to pass simply due to cost. Neighboring Vermont made a valiant effort at implementing a single-payer system in the state, and had to give up after lawmakers realized that there was no way that the state could afford the system.

It's a bit strange to think that due to the abject failure of the Affordable Care Act to actually make care affordable, an uncomfortably high number of Massachusetts legislators think that the solution to this problem is to simply add more government to the equation.

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