Mass. Ballot Question 5 A Positive, Needed Reform

To the editors:


I am writing in response to Daniel P. Mosteller's article, In Quiet Year, Ballot Measures Draw Fight (News, Oct. 24), in which he detailed key ballot measures in the coming election. Specifically, I am concerned with Question 5, a petition that would provide access to health care to all state residents by July 1, 2002. The measure has several critics, even within the Harvard community, who primarily cite the economic havoc it would create. In particular, they note the rise in health insurance premiums and the possible collapse of managed health care in Massachusetts.

The truth is that Massachusetts spends more per capita on medical care than any other place on earth. One would expect, given these exorbitant expenditures, that most residents of the state would be provided at least some form of a guarantee to healthcare. However, approximately 350,000 people have no form of health insurance and cannot qualify for Medicaid. These uninsured are often working class people whose jobs do not offer a health insurance plan.

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