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Groups: National Health Care Reform Good Medicine for MA

February 22, 2010

BOSTON - Some say that passing national health care reform is too expensive and not a priority for the people of Massachusetts, but many doctors, AARP and members of the business community beg to differ. They are making the case today to state legislators that national health care reform will help thousands in the state who are still falling through the cracks.

Lindsey Tucker, health reform policy manager with Health Care For All, Boston, acknowledges that the current proposals in Washington might not be perfect, but says national reform would help to cover tens of thousands in the Bay State who still find insurance premiums too expensive.

"Individuals who are unable to afford health insurance right now because they make a little bit too much more than the subsidy we can give them, they will be able to receive subsidies from the federal government."

Tucker says that 70,000 small businesses in Massachusetts also would benefit from a national reform bill through tax credits, which would help them provide health insurance benefits to their workers.

Deborah Banda, state director of AARP Massachusetts, says that while Massachusetts has made many strides forward with health care reform, she is troubled by the number of senior citizens who still are unable to afford their prescriptions.

"We must protect guaranteed Medicare benefits; we still have to get prescription drug costs down. Those are steps that can only be taken at the federal level."

Dr. Samova Stout is the medical director at Revere Family Health Center. She says that passing national health care also would help close the gap for patients by providing federal dollars. That's important, she says, because she has seen patients forced to decide between purchasing food and buying medications like insulin.

"Those kinds of decisions often lead them to end up in the emergency room or hospitalized, and that not only leads to terrible medical outcomes for them but really raises the cost of the health care system for everybody."

Representatives from several local groups supporting national health care reform are speaking to legislators in Boston today at 10:30 a.m.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - MA