As our news is filled with more details about the Navy Yard shooter, Health Care For All is convening the first coalition conversations with our newest policy effort. We are calling our new coalition MASH (Massachusetts Alliance to Support Heroes), which is being created to strengthen the supports for all military service members and their families. We know that there are remarkable organizations spread all over the Commonwealth that vary in size from the Home Base program with the Red Sox and MGH to brand new Mom and Pop shops that have sprung up in cities and towns to provide comfort, or care to our service members and families. We also know that Massachusetts has some wonderful support services and programs available for military and veterans but that they are not universally known or accessed.
MASH will create a broad coalition table where smaller organizations can collaborate with bigger institutions. Where we will learn from providers of a host of social and medical services and will eventually strengthen and improve our health care and social service supports for those who have served us. We want Massachusetts to have the most efficient and effective system of care for the nearly 400,000 veterans who have served our nation and their loved ones.
The first meeting of MASH reminded me that we have the leaders in place who can make this happen. It redoubled my determination that when successful, MASH might be helpful to prevent a tragedy like the Navy Yard from happening in Massachusetts. We will strengthen our reporting and care system so that anyone who seeks help and needs care from our system will not fall through the cracks. We will begin to fulfill the promise that Abraham Lincoln made in his 2nd inaugural address:
“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
–Amy Whitcomb Slemmer