Sen. Cyr: Single-Payer Healthcare Gains Traction in Massachusetts

BOSTON — TheMassachusettsSenate has passed a wide-ranging health care reform bill that calls for the state to study the cost of a possible single-payer insurance system.

The Senate gave final approval to the measure on a 33-6 vote just before midnight on Thursday.

Cape & Islands State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro) praised the bill, saying Massachusetts once again leads the way on health care for all.

“The drawbacks of our fragmented healthcare system are increasingly obvious,” he said.

“The current sick-care system has neglected many and, worse, costs more than anywhere else in the world. We can’t wait. This amendment move the ball forward on transitioning Massachusetts to a single payer system in a real and responsible way,” said Cyr.

The 100-page bill seeks to limit price disparities between large Boston hospitals and smaller, community hospitals, and curb rising pharmaceutical drug costs.

Senators adopted an amendment that calls for the state to analyze what a government single-payer health system would costMassachusetts, and compare those costs to the present market-based system.

“This is truly a progressive step forward for the Commonwealth and will help set the stage for the nation,” said Mass-Care Executive Director Ture Turnbull.

Mass-Care is a statewide activist group seeking the creation of a single payer healthcare system for 22 years.

“This victory shows not only how far the Senate has come to progressive values but also where the conversation is across the Commonwealth,” said Turnbull.

The bill faces an uncertain road ahead.

The House is expected to draft its own, less expansive health care bill, and Republican Gov. Charlie Baker is questioning whether the Senate bill would save the state money.

Massachusetts currently spends more on health care than any other state in the nation. In 2016, the state spent $59 billion statewide on health care.

Premiums for employers and individuals have increased 12% in the last five years, while benefits have either decreased or remained the same.

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