During the 2013-2014 session, Jamie filed the following pieces of legislation to improve access to health care:
An Act establishing Medicare for all in Massachusetts
This bill will create a Medicare for All “single payer” health care system for Massachusetts, guaranteeing first rate health care coverage for every resident of the state, while saving money for state and local government, businesses, and residents. Massachusetts cannot afford to extend good health coverage to all residents under the current health insurance system, and rising health care costs are destroying state, municipal, business, and household budgets. No country or community in the world has been able to control health care costs or guarantee universal health care coverage without a system like Medicare for All.
An Act establishing a public health insurance option
This bill will create a public health insurance agency to compete with private insurers in order to give consumers more choices, increase competition and encourage insurance companies to cooperate, share information, and reduce costs. By avoiding some of the overhead that gets eaten up at private companies by profits and excessive administrative costs and executive salaries, a public option could provide a good deal for consumers, and would also keep pressure on private insurers to keep their policies affordable and to treat their customers better. The public option would be financed initially with a modest surcharge on insurance reserves but would rely on its own revenues and become self-sufficient after a period of one year.
An Act relative to providing health insurance coverage for cochlear and auditory osseointegrated implants in children
Too often, children who are born deaf and would be eligible for cochlear implants don’t receive them because the operation is so expensive – a delay that can have serious effects on the child’s development. This bill requires health insurance plans to cover operations to implant cochlear implants for children as well as post treatment services and replacement parts.
An Act clarifying the reporting of medical liability claims
Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012, “An Act Improving the Quality of Health Care and Reducing Costs through Increased Transparency, Efficiency and Innovation, established the statutory framework for encouraging the disclosure of unanticipated medical injuries and the subsequent apology and financial compensation if warranted, so-called Disclosure, Apology and Offer programs (DA&O). Current state law requires professional liability insurers and physicians to report all medical malpractice awards if a payment is awarded to a complaining party. This reporting requirement was enacted prior to the adoption of DA&O program language. This bill will clarify the existing statutes so that payments made under a disclosure offer and apology program where the unanticipated injury is not the result of substandard care would be exempt from reporting.
An Act regarding the countable assets of medical assistance recipients
This bill will allow individuals to save for retirement in Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) without being penalized when it comes time to calculate government benefits. Specifically, this bill provides that when one spouse is institutionalized (in a nursing home, etc.), any funds their spouse has in an IRA, Keogh plan or other pension funds will be considered non-countable assets so long as regular income distributions are made from the fund or the spouse is employed.
An Act relative to emergency and disaster planning for health care providers
This bill will require that in the situation of a governor declared emergency, or during other locally declared emergency situations, there would be a general wavier of liability of court or regulatory agency administrative sanctions against health care providers to ensure that providers are able to care for patients quickly without worry about liability concerns. With the recent storms like Hurricane Sandy, Blizzard Nemo and others, it is time that the state developed a process to ensure that providers are able to quickly and effectively care for patients regardless of the setting and without concern of legal or administrative sanctions.
An Act to preserve eligibility for PACE program and certain waivered participants
The purpose of this bill is to enable individuals to remain eligible or qualify for the PACE and Home and Community Based (HCB) waiver even if his or her income is over the income limit. For said individuals, participation in either the PACE or HCB waiver program will require a premium to be paid if the individual’s income falls between the income limit and the average nursing home rate, as determined by the division.