Brown's Plan Would Place Decisions About Coverage In Hands Of Insurance Companies And Fail To Protect Care For Women, Seniors

Press Release

By:  Martha Coakley
Date: Jan. 9, 2010
Location: Springfield, MA

In yesterday's candidates' debate in Springfield, Scott Brown continued to deny the basic impact of his regressive health care legislation that would allow the reduction of coverage for women and seniors. During the debate, Martha Coakley pointed out that his legislation would place decisions about coverage in the hands of insurance companies instead of protecting the interests of consumers of health care.

In December, Brown filed state health care legislation that would allow the elimination of mandated coverage for critical health services for women and seniors. Among the care that Brown's legislation would allow the removal of coverage for includes mammograms, minimum maternity stays for new mothers, hospice care for seniors, and cancer screenings.

"Scott Brown continues to deny the impact of his regressive health care legislation which would allow the removal of basic health coverage for women and seniors," Coakley Campaign Manager Kevin Conroy said. "As Martha said in yesterday's debate, Scott Brown's plan would put the decisions on whether to cover basic care such as mammograms and hospice care for seniors in the hands of insurance companies instead of protecting patients."

When challenged yesterday by Coakley on his legislation and the health services, including mammograms, that would no longer be required to be covered, Brown attempted to backtrack.

Coakley: "But that's the reason (those coverages) were mandated. You're saying we're going to remove the mandate."

Brown: "No, I never said we were going to remove the mandate."

A review of Brown's legislation reveals that his statement was inaccurate. The language in his bill would give the state's Connector Authority the power elminate benefits that were previously mandated, including mammograms, minimum maternity stays for new mothers, hospice care for seniors, and screenings (pap smears) to detect, among other possible conditions, cervical cancer at an early, treatable stage.

Coakley later pointed out that Brown's plan would place decisions about whether to cover these basic health services in the hands of health insurance companies instead of standing up for patients such as women and seniors.

"The reason it was mandated in the original bill (is) because insurance companies will skimp on it," Coakley said in the debate. "Consumers lose and it will be to the benefit of insurance companies and not to consumers of health care."

In addition to the removal of basic coverage, Brown's legislation would also have minimal impact on the cost of health insurance premiums. A study conducted in 2008 by the Commonwealth's Division of Health Care Finance and Policy reported that removing such mandated coverage across the board, including these women's health services, would result in a net cost reduction of only 3-4% in health premiums for Massachusetts residents.