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Non-Binding Measure On Single-Payer System Passes In All 14 Districts


As we mentioned Monday, the midterm election’s ballots in 14 Massachusetts districts included non-binding questions on whether the state should move to a “single-payer” system, also known as “Medicare For All.”

Turns out, they all passed. Even though the districts tended to be pretty middle-of-the-road, politically.

Mass-Care, the group that led the single-payer ballot push, reports on its Website:

Massachusetts voters have, for the second straight election, overwhelmingly affirmed their support for single payer health reform by turning in majority ‘Yes’ votes in all fourteen districts where local single payer ballot questions appeared on November 2. The ballots spanned 80 different cities and towns in a state of 351 municipalities, winning in every city and town reporting results so far except two. Five of the districts backing single payer reform voted for Scott Brown in last year’s special senate election, which was largely seen as a referendum on national health reform, showing that the goal of improved and expanded Medicare for All is supported by a diverse range of communities across the state.

And Mass-Care adds an interesting note from Vermont:

Peter Shumlin was elected Governor of Vermont running on a single payer platform. This is incredibly exciting as the Vermont legislature recently commissioned Dr. William Hsiao, the designer of Taiwan’s single payer health care system, to draft an implementation and impact study for a potential single payer plan in Vermont.

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Non-Binding ‘Medicare For All’ On Ballots

Sure, Massachusetts is leading the nation in health care reform. But for some residents — quite a few, actually — it hasn’t led far enough.

Tomorrow, the ballots in 14 districts will include non-binding questions on whether the state should move to a “single-payer” system, also known as “Medicare For All.” To wit:

Shall the representative from this district be instructed to support legislation that would establish health care as a human right regardless of age, state of health or employment status, by creating a single payer health insurance system like Medicare that is comprehensive, cost effective, and publicly provided to all residents of Massachusetts?

With everyone still adjusting to state and federal health reform, why put the single-payer question on the ballot now?

Jon Weissman, a spokesman for the single-payer campaign in western Massachusetts, says that “it’s one part of a strategy to put together a legislature that will vote for single-payer.” A single-payer bill has been introduced repeatedly in the legislature for more than a decade, he said, and has always gotten plenty of sponsors, but never passed.

These days, he said, a powerful argument in its favor is that a single-payer system would be cheaper than the current health care system in Massachusetts. Also, other states are looking into single-payer plans, and “Massachusetts doesn’t want to not be a leader!”

But the “core answer,” he said, is that the ballot measure is “one of many tactics we use in order to keep the issue alive.”

In past years, such measures have passed overwhelmingly, but in famously liberal enclaves like Amherst, Jon said. This year, the districts that will vote on the measure are more middle-of-the-road, politically. Continue reading