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Yesterday in the mail, I received the call to convention for the Massachusetts Democratic Party convention next month, where I will be a delegate.

In it, along with the itinerary, was the 2013 party platform. The Mass Dems platform is solidly progressive and covers a number of issues.

When reading the health care section, I was pleased to see that the platform included an endorsement of a single payer/Medicare for All system.

Massachusetts Democrats believe that every person should enjoy good quality of life and good health and wellbeing. We believe that high-quality and affordable health care should be available to all through a single payer government sponsored program like Medicare, regardless of employment status.
We often see a discrepancy between party platforms and party policymaking, even in states like Massachusetts where Democrats are unobstructed by Republicans.

This dynamic came to mind when reading that passage because while the platform endorses single payer, there is only one gubernatorial candidate who wants to make it happen.

When asked about single payer, Attorney General Martha Coakley normally hedges, noting that she does not support single payer "at this time."

State Treasurer Steve Grossman says that he will "consider it" and "put it on the table" but has yet to display any clear commitment or concrete interest in it.

Former Homeland Security adviser Juliette Kayyem will often say that she supports single payer in theory but will do nothing for it.

Former COO of Blue Cross Blue Shield Massachusetts Joe Avellone is openly opposed to single payer.

That leaves us with only one gubernatorial candidate with a firm commitment to this plank of the state party platform: former Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Don Berwick. He discussed why Massachusetts must take this next step in health care reform in recent interviews in Vox and Wonkblog. Last month, he hosted a town hall event discussing his Medicare for All proposal, and he regularly emphasizes how such a system can accomplish the threefold goal of better health, better care, and better cost. As a trained pediatrician, former CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement a former head of CMS, he knows a lot about health care, and he knows that we need to move to a single payer system.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Berwick (5+ / 0-)

    A true healthcare visionary. Can he gain any traction? I haven't seen any recent policing data.

    The opposite of "good" is "good intention" - Kurt Tucholsky

    by DowneastDem on Sun May 18, 2014 at 07:19:39 AM PDT

  •  'Government Sponsored Like Medicare' 4 Key Words (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aquarius40, CuriousBoston

    You say the Massachusetts 2014 Democratic Party Platform says:

    "We believe that high-quality and affordable health care should be available to all through a single payer government sponsored program like Medicare.."

    Unless you are old enough (or are disabled to a high degree) to be on Medicare, you probably do not understand the meaning of the words "government-sponsored... like Medicare." If a system is "single payer" the way the "government-sponsored... Medicare" program is in the United States, it is not really single payer at all.  

    1. Both the recipient (twice directly) and the government (indirectly) pays the Medicare "insurance premium"
    2. The Medicare insurance premium only covers on average about 50% of recipients' healthcare costs so recipients pay a third time in out of pocket costs to make up the difference (over 95% of time  by making other arrangements, typically via private supplemental insurance)
    3. The U.S. government only 'sponsors' Medicare; Medicare -- both the four formal Parts -- and the private supplemental insurance that many people get on top of the four formal Parts is totally run by private insurance companies

    Is this what you mean by single payer? Is this what Berwick means by single payer?

    (Are you purposely translating the French incorrectly in your handle?)

    •  Thank you for pointing this out. The diarist (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CuriousBoston

      is indeed confused.  Actually, we DO have a single payer system: it's called MedicAID.  That is the health care system whereby the government pays the bills for medical treatment. I know because I'm on it.

      What the diarist should be in favor of is Medicaid for All.

    •  On Medicare (0+ / 0-)

      The language you are addressing is that of the state party,not me. I just moved to Massachusetts last year. If you have a gripe with the language of the state platform, you can talk to the party.

      If you have questions, you can see the links about Berwick's statement about health care. He emphasizes the importance of the government as the sole payer.

      If you want to see other discussions of Medicare in the context of single payer, you can look at H.R. 676: http://www.pnhp.org/....

    •  And one more thing (0+ / 0-)

      One more thing to tack onto my prior post. The reason why many say "Medicare for All" instead of "single payer" when they mean the latter (full, rather than half, payment) is that MFA polls better and is more readily understood by people. I always use single-payer myself, but that's how it is.

  •  Just an offhand though (0+ / 0-)

    People have what is either rampant wishful thinking or simply a delusion that the ACA is a "step toward single payer". But this might actually be such a step.  Have the government step up and pay 50%, but force you to pay the other 50% by buying private insurance (at the normal 100% markup) and people just might start thinking, "Why only half?", "Why give all this money to those assholes?"

  •  Thank you for this information. n/t (2+ / 0-)

    Help Senator Warren. Encourage people to co-sponsor her bills, & the bills she has cosponsored. Elect Ed Markey.

    by CuriousBoston on Sun May 18, 2014 at 12:08:21 PM PDT

  •  As a Mass progressive I want to be clear... (0+ / 0-)

    I regard Patrick barely better than that piece of shit Romney. Even our Dem governors have been underwhelming corporate shills.

    I hadn't even looked yet into who's running, but I can say this is a huge plus for Berwick. Let's see how the rest of his principles line up.

    Martha had her shot, she proved wanting, and frankly I wasn't thrilled given a few of her DA/AG exploits are seriously concerning. Gross man is competent at his current job and I'd prefer he stay in it, and no one from Homeland Security will ever get my vote.

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