Health Justice for Boston ~ Number 20. August 2015
Boston Got to Celebrate Twice!
State House on July 30th
Organized primarily by Mass-Care and Senator Jamie Eldridge, a broad range of groups came together to throw a birthday party for Medicare, cake and all. The Massachusetts Nurses Association, the Massachusetts Senior Action Council, the Massachusetts AFL-CIO, Physicians for a National Health Program, Jobs with Justice, the Alliance for Retired Americans, Progressive Democrats of America, the League of Women Voters and, of course, Health Justice for Boston, among others, helped build this joyous event. Speakers addressed the need to expand Medicare to cover everyone as the best way to defend it from corporate raiders. Poverty is a major cause of poor health, so many pointed to the need to connect our struggles in order to build a just healthcare system embedded in a just society.
MSAC on August 6th
The Massachusetts Senior Action Council hosted its own celebration of Medicare and Medicaid, with a strong presence of the Massachusetts Alliance for Retired Americans. Speakers called for solidarity with workers fighting against healthcare takeaways, warned of the ongoing danger to Social Security and linked the protection and improvement of Medicare and Medicaid to the goal of a truly universal system of quality care, enhanced Medicare for all for life.
Health Justice for Boston 20 Months In: A Score Card
1. We are very happy about the pressure we brought to bear against the Olympics 2024 bid - we worked with many and, as a rare instance of HJB backing a winning horse, it feels good.
2. School lunches, which had been downgraded by the new group at City Hall, may be restored to healthy status, thanks to pressure from a lot of forces, including HJB.
3. The healthcare committee of SEIU Local 888 was revitalized with help from HJB members in preparation for contract negotiations.
1. We were too late to prevent closure of Roxbury Comprehensive Community Health Center, and not effective enough to keep Quincy Medical Center open, but we hope the spotlight on rolling back privatization and preventing further cutbacks will be effective.
2. It was a shame what happened to the two healthcare ballot questions, put forward by the Massachusetts Nurses Association and dropped last year, but we participated in such important legislative successes as raising the minimum wage and winning sick leave.
Ongoing burning issues and strategic aims:
1. Networking of community, union and caregiver concerns, all the while building support for fundamental change.
2. As our number-one ongoing vital issue, we hope to stop the BU Level 4 Biolab by continued pressure on public entities, in unity with community organizations and the general public.
3. Protecting and expanding community health centers.
4. Supporting the legislative campaign of the Massachusetts Senior Action Council to make Medicare more affordable to seniors by making access to Medicaid less discriminatory based on age and providing subsidies to low income seniors who don't qualify for Medicaid for Medicare premiums, deductibles and co-pays.
5. Winning a just and equitable health system for all. - Quentin Davis
Growing Recognition of Biolab Danger
The Coalition to Stop the BU Bioterror Lab met with state officials on July 24th. Thanks to LULAC’s request to Health & Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, our strong delegation of community leaders, nurses and distinguished scientists sat down with Alice Moore, Under Secretary of HHS and Monica Bharel, Massachusetts Department of Public Health Commissioner. We thoroughly reviewed the dangers presented by the rash of human errors surrounding high-containment biolabs nationally and our community’s lack of preparedness. We asked that (1) the permitting process for work with potential pandemic pathogens be held up (a) until safe procedures are agreed upon and in place and (b) until Massachusetts hospitals and their staff are properly equipped and trained, and (2) that Massachusetts’ decrepit public health infrastructure be rebuilt. We expect to meet with corresponding City officials this month to raise our concerns and press for solutions. - Sandy Eaton
What is Healthcare Justice?
- Access: Can you get the care you need?
- Affordability: Will you go bankrupt if you do?
- Quality: Will you survive your encounter?
- Equality: Do you meet special barriers to care?
For more information on health care as a right, not a commodity:
To navigate the current system:
Boston Mayor’s HealthLine @ 617-534-5050
Health Care For All - Massachusetts
Consumer Health HelpLine @ 800-272-4232
Massachusetts Health Connector
Customer Support @ 877-623-6765
For more information, contact: