(At a packed State House press event today, all of the key groups that came together to pass Massachusetts health reform celebrated the Supreme Court decision and affirmed our collective desire to move forward. The highlight was presentations by two consumers, each impacted by serious medical issues, and each able to get good care only because of health reform)
UPDATE: Thanks to our friends at the Mass Medical Society for this video:
BOSTON – Today policymakers, consumers and consumer advocates, religious leaders, providers, labor leaders, businesses, and insurers applauded the Supreme Court decision on upholding the individual mandate and other key provisions of the Federal Affordable Care Act. Under the slogan “Massachusetts Health Reform: Moving Forward”, stakeholders that worked together to pass Chapter 58 (the 2006 Massachusetts health reform law) convened at the State House to celebrate this victory and to reaffirm their commitment to the Massachusetts law that increased health coverage to 98% of the Massachusetts
Today’s decision in favor of the ACA not only means expanding access to care to millions of Americans but it will also have a direct impact for the residents of Massachusetts. Under the federal law, more middle income families in the Commonwealth will have access to coverage subsidies, young people will be able to stay on their parents’ health insurance policies up to age 26, residents will enjoy a free annual primary care visit a year and senior citizens will experience a reduction in the cost of their prescription drugs.
The ruling was welcomed by policymakers, government officials, consumers’ advocates, physicians, insurers and providers in Massachusetts who have seen the success of the state law that became the blueprint for the federal legislation signed by Obama in 2010.
“This is great news for Massachusetts and the country. We have already expanded access to health care for hundreds of thousands Massachusetts residents, and now we can do more”, stated Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, Executive Director of Health Care For All. “The ACA will make a remarkable difference in the lives of millions of Americans, who will finally be able to get the health care they need.”
“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court means that millions of uninsured Americas can see a path to getting affordable health insurance and obtaining the same benefits of improved health and security that people in Massachusetts have experienced under Governor Patrick’s leadership,” stated Secretary JudyAnn Bigby of the Executive Office of Health and Human services. “Massachusetts residents will benefit from the ongoing implementation of the ACA because more people will have access to affordable health insurance, seniors will continue to see their drug costs go down, and people with disabilities will benefit from a system of care that meets their unique needs. This is a great day for Massachusetts and for America.”
“I welcome today’s United States Supreme Court decision upholding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This historic opinion memorializes on a federal level what we are already doing here in Massachusetts – providing access to healthcare to all of our citizens. Accordingly, we will continue our work on health care reform, leading the nation as we collectively curb health care costs and deliver coverage to our residents. As all of the implications of today’s ruling become clear, I am hopeful that the federal government will maintain its fiscal partnership with our efforts,” stated House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo.
“We’re elated that the nation will now be able to taste what we in MA give thanks for daily — health care for our people”, stated Reverend Burn Stanfield, President of GBIO. “Today’s ruling ends the constitution debate around health reform, and it should end the rancorous political debate as well.”
“Today’s ruling is a validation of decades of work here in Massachusetts to expand health care coverage to all of our citizens,” said Andrew Dreyfus, President and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. “All Americans will now have the same health care benefits and protections that Massachusetts residents have known for years.”
“Today is an important day for millions of Americans who will now have access to health care coverage,” said Gary Gottlieb M.D., President and CEO of Partners HealthCare. “Our state leaders can be proud of the example the Commonwealth has set in providing our citizens with primary and preventive care that will improve their health today and for the lives of generations to come.”
“Physicians in Massachusetts have been strong supporters of our state health reform movement from the beginning. Universal coverage has been better for our patients, and it’s been better for the practice of medicine. When people have insurance, they are more likely to get the care they need, when they need it. They are also more likely to discuss preventive care measures with their doctor and that may lead to longer and healthier lives. And when the public’s health is good, society is more productive, the economy is vibrant, and the social fabric of the community is as strong as it can be. That’s why is we are so pleased that the ACA was upheld,” said Frank Fortin of the Massachusetts Medical Society.
“Today, Massachusetts healthcare workers are celebrating, because we know firsthand that Massachusetts health reform has saved lives – and that moving forward, national health reform will do the same”, stated Veronica Turner, Executive Vice President of 1199 SEIU. “Our mission as healthcare workers is to ensure quality, affordable access to healthcare for our patients and today is a significant step forward towards that goal and vision.”
“Today’s ruling is a victory for the entire nation. Massachusetts’ hospitals enthusiastically applaud today’s decision. This judicial “green light” furthers our hospitals’ on-going efforts to provide high-quality care on a cost-effective basis, and take the next step forward with adoption of the Massachusetts payment reform law currently being determined on Beacon Hill,” said Timothy Gens, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of the Massachusetts Hospital Association.
“We are extremely pleased with today’s Supreme Court ruling,” said James W. Hunt, Jr., president and CEO of the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. “In the past five years we have made great strides and stand ready to work with community health centers across the country to help them put in place the elements of reform that in our experience have demonstrated cost-savings, increased accessibility and better coordination of care.”