Over the past several weeks, we’ve received many requests from media outlets and our members for our positions on the ballot questions.
Questions 1 and 2 are both relevant to our mission, and our ability to execute it, and our positions are stated below:
Massachusetts’s healthcare system is broken. Every year, families are forced to pay increased premiums to maintain their coverage and the Commonwealth’s share of healthcare costs continues rise. State healthcare costs are literally overwhelming the budget, of which MassHealth now accounts for 41% compared to the forecast of 23% just a few years ago, while access and customer choice are arguably declining. While acknowledging this problem, the legislature has thus far refused to act on any sort of reform measures.
Reform is direly needed, but adding another mandate upon the overburdened system is the exact opposite of what our state should be doing now. The Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, an independent state agency charged with monitoring health care spending growth, provided one of the few independent studies of the effect passing Question 1 would have on expenses. They found that passing the measure could cost up to $1 Billion each year. This is simply money our already overburdened state cannot afford.
Furthermore, the medical community itself is deeply divided on the matter. Hospital administrators are almost universally against the measure, and the most recent scientific poll of nurses found that they split almost evenly for and against the question.
We should always be wary of any top down regulation dictating how organization should be run, and this rule proves particularly relevant in this case. Hospitals need the flexibility to respond to emergency situations as they develop, not have their hands tied by statute.
We urge a no vote on Question 1.
The controversy surrounding the Citizens United decision hinges on our cherished right to Freedom of Speech. In the decision, the court ruled to expand that freedom and apply it equally to all entities and organizations, rather than just the arbitrary list of winners and losers selected by elected officials in previous campaign finance laws.
This is a good thing. The First Amendment protection of our Freedom of Speech is one of the pillars of our democracy and should be preserved and expanded at every possible opportunity. The less government standing in the way of the exercise of that right, the stronger it is.
However, even if you disagree with the Citizens United decision, an amendment to the United States Constitution is a dangerous and misguided way to go about undoing it.
We urge a no vote on Question 2.