Issue Position: Health Care
Early in 2006, Republicans and Democrats in Massachusetts came together with business leaders, health care professionals, community leaders, and citizens from all walks of life to craft a proposal to extend the benefits of health care coverage throughout the Commonwealth. The landmark legislation makes Massachusetts a pioneer in the effort to provide health care for all.
On a national level, America faces a health care crisis. According to Census Bureau statistics, over forty-six million people in the United States are currently living without health insurance - that's more than six million more than in the year President Bush took office. Even for those who have coverage, the cost of insurance is becoming more and more expensive, and the cost of prescription drugs continues to spiral out of control. It is a national disgrace that America is the only industrial nation in the world that refuses to guarantee health care for all its citizens.
We need serious proposals to help solve the major health care challenges facing the nation. We need proposals that hold the promise of providing every American with quality health coverage - making sure that it is a right and not a privilege. In the wealthiest and most prosperous nation in the world, no citizen should have to choose between a visit to the doctor and paying the rent or putting food on the table.
We can achieve this promise by extending Medicare to all Americans. Under the proposal, all citizens would have the option of remaining in their employer-based plans, or joining Medicare - a program which has earned the trust of the American people.
Massachusetts has taken a giant step forward to extend the miracle of modern medicine to all its citizens. Now every state, every leader, and every American must follow our lead, and ensure every citizen has access to the affordable and effective health care they deserve.
* Family health insurance premiums rose by more than $4,500 in 2005 - a 71 percent increase since 2000. (Kaiser Family Foundation)
* The number of Americans without health insurance rose to a record high of 46.6 million in 2005. (Bureau of the Census)
* The number of people without health insurance has increased by 6.8 million since the year President Bush was elected. The number of uninsured has increased every year of the Bush presidency. (Bureau of the Census)