Issue Position: Health Care

Issue Position

By:  Martha Coakley
Location: Unknown

he American health care system is broken and the time to fix it is now. Martha supports comprehensive health care reform now because America cannot afford to wait.

As Attorney General, Martha filed lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies and health insurers that drive up health care costs and achieved record recoveries in Medicaid fraud cases.

Martha believes health care reform should build on the successes we've had in Massachusetts and focus on accomplishing three key goals: (1) expanding coverage; (2) improving quality; and (3) reducing costs.

Read about Attorney General Martha Coakley's Progressive Health Care Leadership

Read More about Attorney General Martha Coakley's Work

Expand Coverage

Today, over 47 million Americans are uninsured. In addition, family incomes have not kept pace with health care inflation, making non-group coverage unaffordable for most low-income families.

In Washington, Martha will work to expand access to those without insurance coverage by supporting: an individual mandate and a public insurance option that will complement the existing employer-sponsored insurance framework by providing coverage to those that lack it.

Reduce Costs

Health care reform cannot truly succeed without reducing costs. That is why Martha will fight to ensure any health care reform proposals include cost containment mechanisms that make sense. In Washington, Martha will fight to reduce health care costs by supporting:

a change in payment incentives so that we no longer reward volume and complexity and greater transparency of health care cost and quality information.

Martha supports a public insurance option because it will compete with private insurance and therefore help to reduce health care costs.

Improve Quality

Though Americans are paying more for their health coverage, they are receiving less. Martha will support reform that improves the quality of health care Americans receive. Martha believes that doctors and patients - not insurance companies - should be in charge of health care decisions.

As your next U.S. Senator, Martha will work to ensure health care reform is done effectively and responsibly.

Progressive Health Care Leadership

Martha Coakley has an established record of taking aggressive action to protect health care consumers, improve quality and contain health care costs:

* Honored by Health Care for All with 2009 Health Care Leadership Award.

* Made Health Care a Priority in the Attorney General's Office by Establishing the Health Care Division to Focus Specifically on Health Care in Light of Health Reform.

* Achieved Record Settlements in Enforcement Actions.
o Consumer protection actions against pharmaceutical manufacturers for unlawful sales and marketing practices:
+ Merck (Vioxx) -- record $58 million payment to the participating states. Massachusetts' share is $1.64M.
+ Pfizer (Bextra and Celebrex) -- record $60 million settlement with Pfizer Inc. Massachusetts' share is $2,521,257.
+ Eli Lilly (Zyprexa) -- record $62 million settlement. Massachusetts' share is $1.6M.
+ Cephalon (Actiq) -- $700,000 settlement for Massachusetts.
o Consumer protection action against predatory "sub-prime" insurer -- Health Markets/Mid-West (MEGA Life):
+ Largest consumer protection settlement against a health insurer in Massachusetts history ($17M); terms included 5-year ban of Health Markets in Massachusetts.

* Holding Non-Profit Hospitals and HMOs Accountable for Providing Community Benefits -- Led stakeholder review and issued revised Community Benefit Guidelines that call for enhanced reporting to ensure greater community involvement in the development of programs that respond to identified community health needs.

* Taking on Health Discount Plans -- Issued proposed regulations to protect consumers against deceptive marketing of discount plans to consumers looking for affordable coverage; pursued enforcement actions and conducted consumer outreach.

* Oversight of Health Care Reform -- Worked closely with 3 Connector Board appointees to ensure consumers are protected in implementation of chapter 58.

* Leadership on Health Care Policy Issues -- Cost containment, patient safety, disparities:
o Health Care Quality and Cost Council -- designee on Council
o Healthy Mass -- signatory to compact
o Betsy Lehman Center for Patient Safety and the Reduction of Medical Errors -- designee on Board
o Cost Containment Hearings -- conducted investigation under sec. 6 ½ of c. 118G
o Health Disparities Council -- designee on Council

* Antitrust Enforcement -- Ongoing investigations in MA health care market.

* Medicaid Fraud Enforcement -- Record settlements and recoveries.

* Vigorous Non-Profit Oversight -- First ever review of non-profit hospital compensation.

Read More
Read Attorney General Martha Coakley's white paper on health care - Health Care Reform: Strategies to Contain Costs, Improve Quality and Expand Coverage

Learn more about Attorney General Coakley's work:

* Attorney General Coakley's keynote address at the American Bar Association's 5th annual Washington Health Care Summit (Striving for Universal, Affordable Health Care: Lessons from Massachusetts)

* Attorney General Martha Coakley Proposes Regulations to Protect Consumers From Unfair and Deceptive Marketing of Medical Discount Plan

* Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and 42 State Attorneys General Reach $33 Million Settlement with Pfizer Inc.; Massachusetts Will Receive Approximately $800,000 for Consumer Protection Programs

* Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office Reaches Nearly $15 Million Settlement with Pharmaceutical Giant Pfizer; Coalition of Government Entities Reaches Historic $2.3 Billion Settlement with Drug Giant

* Attorney General Martha Coakley Reaches $17 Million Settlement with Health Insurers Regarding Unfair and Deceptive Conduct

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