Ballet Questions Could Change the Fate of Health Care in Massachusetts

Posted by Melissa Santos

The 2012 elections are pivotal when considering the looming economic, social, and international woes facing our country; another important piece of this election for Massachusetts residents are ballot questions and 31 petitions reached Attorney General Martha Coakley’s desk on August 3, 2011. Two proposals submitted could literally affect the economic and physical health of the Commonwealth and its citizens: the effort to bring the Death with Dignity Act to the state as well as a motion to repeal the health care requirement enacted by former Governor Mitt Romney.

Anne Fox, president of the anti-abortion organization Massachusetts Citizens for Life, created the petition to repeal the health insurance requirement, citing the overall failure of the current system. In her statement regarding the proposal, Fox demands “quality, affordable, and ethical health care for all. We are deeply concerned with information which has been published in the past two years which shows that the state health plan is running out of money.” Since 2006, health care costs have risen dramatically in the state and revenue for doctors and hospitals have faltered. According to the Division of Health Care Finance and Policy, the reform has been successful in insuring most Massachusetts citizens, with 98% of the state being covered, but it has failed to reduce to cost of health care, one of the main reasons for its enactment. State costs have risen by more than $400 million, causing Deval Patrick to threaten cuts to valuable programs such as Adult Day Health as well as education.

On quite another health issue, Michael Clarke filed a proposal for the proponents of the Death with Dignity Act. The bill would grant a patient “who has voluntarily expressed his or her wish to die…a written request for medication that the patient may self-administer to end his or her life in a humane and dignified manner.” The petition states that the patient must have had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and have received a prognosis that their life expectancy would not surpass 6 months, would have to be declared mentally stable and capable of making their own decisions. This is not the first time this type of initiative has been introduced; Rep. Louis Kaftka of Stoughton had submitted a bill in February of 2010 but with no success. The bill, which is a common law crime in the state, has proved to be controversial because of its ethical and moral nature and only two states, Oregon and Washington, have signed it into law.

The proponents of each proposal must now wait for Coakley to certify the petitions by September 7, 2011. If this happens, they must get over 68,000 signatures before they can go before the state Legislation in May of 2012, which would then decide whether they will be placed on the 2012 ballot.


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  4. Prominent Mass. Bottler Against Expanded Bill

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Posted by Melissa Santos on Aug 22 2011. Filed under Health, Top Stories. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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