Tag Archives: Medicaid cuts

Senator Scott Brown faces new grassroots backlash on budget stance

Senator out of step with public on tax breaks for large corporations and the super-rich

BOSTON – After recently telling a group of seniors in Brighton that he would prioritize tax breaks for oil companies and the super-rich ahead of programs like Medicare and Social Security, Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown (R) has staked out a budget stance that leaves him severely at odds with his constituents and national public opinion. He has also unwittingly triggered a grassroots backlash to his comments, galvanizing a diverse set of Massachusetts advocacy organizations against his position on the hot national budget debate.

Advocates have scheduled a press conference for Wednesday, August 17, at Noon, outside Brown’s Boston office to kick off what organizers say will be a vigorous and sustained grassroots and public campaign against the Senator’s controversial budget stance throughout the Congressional recess and super committee process. The groups say they want Brown to take a public position – and weigh in with super committee members – in favor of eliminating Bush era tax handouts for large corporations and the super-rich.

“I am terribly disappointed that Senator Brown would prioritize big oil companies over Medicare and Medicaid,” said Ann Stewart, 87, of Mattapan, MA, President of the Massachusetts Senior Action Council. “It’s aggravating to see him go to such great lengths to defend these ridiculous tax handouts to large corporations and the richest 1%. I know many of them are his big donors, but that shouldn’t make him forget about the seniors and kids who rely on Medicare and Medicaid.”

“We are hoping that Scott Brown will join the rest of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation in supporting a balanced approach to budget negotiations that includes shared sacrifice from large corporations and billionaires – rather than clinging to a misguided stance that hurts low and middle-income families,” said Wilnelia Rivera, Campaigns Director for Neighbor to Neighbor, a statewide organization of low-income families who advocate for economic justice.

According to a number of recent national polls, by nearly a 2 to 1 margin the American public supports withdrawing tax breaks for corporations and super rich individuals in order to help resolve national budget shortfalls. Those findings put Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown squarely at odds with public sentiment as the nation anticipates negotiations by the recently appointed super-committee charged with leading Congressional budget negotiations.

A poll commissioned in part by area healthcare workers concerned about cuts to Medicare and Medicaid shows that margin is likely even wider in Massachusetts, where 74% of respondents recently said they disapprove of Brown’s position against “any revenue increase to help reduce the federal debt – even the elimination of huge tax breaks for the oil industry and companies that send jobs overseas.”

At the August 17 press conference, organizers of the event will debut a massive mobile billboard that will be present at a number of upcoming events attended by Senator Brown, including a GOP fundraiser in Dartmouth Wednesday evening and a Lowell Spinners game on Monday, August 22, where Scott Brown “bobble-head dolls” will be distributed. The truck-mounted billboard reads: “Scott Brown: Listen to the people. We can’t afford the Bush tax handouts to corporations and super rich anymore. Don’t sell out seniors and kids.”

Meanwhile, select groups within the coalition sponsoring Wednesday’s press conference will be kicking off individual advertising and protest actions against Brown’s budget stance in weeks ahead, including radio and newspaper advertising informing the public of Brown’s revenue stance within the budget debate, and pushing him to reconsider.

WHO: Members of the Massachusetts Coalition for a Working Economy including: 1199SEIU Massachusetts • Citizen’s Housing and Planning Association • Coalition for Social Justice/Coalition Against Poverty • Crittenton Women’s Union • Greater Boston Labor Council • Massachusetts Alliance of HUD tenants • Massachusetts Communities Action Network • Massachusetts Jobs with Justice • Massachusetts Teachers Association • Mass Senior Action • MassUniting • MoveOn.Org Greater Boston • National Association of Social Workers • Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts • One Massachusetts • Public Policy Institute • SEIU 509 • SEIU 615 • SEIU State Council • The Grace Team • United Auto Workers Massachusetts State CAP Council • United for a Fair Economy

WHAT: Press conference against Senator Scott Brown’s stance on the national budget debate

WHEN: Wednesday, August 17, Noon

WHERE: Senator Scott Brown’s office at JFK Federal Building (on the side of the building facing City Hall plaza), 15 New Sudbury Street, Boston, MA

Will it be Medicaid or millionaires? MA residents call on Senator Scott Brown to choose!

Boston – With the clock running out on the debt debate, US Senator Scott Brown has yet to state his position on more than $500 billion in proposed healthcare cuts. Medicaid recipients, providers and advocates were set to call the question today (Thursday) in front of Brown’s downtown Boston office!

Will It Be Medicaid or Millionaires?

Boston Residents called on Scott Brown to Choose

While politicians trade horses over the national debt in Washington, those directly affected in Massachusetts are demanding to know where their Senator stands on the critical issues in negotiation.

A coalition of local Medicaid recipients, providers and advocates gathered today to ask a simple question of US Senator Scott Brown: “Will you choose Medicaid or Millionaires?” The call comes after weeks of silence from Brown on a proposed $500 billion cut to healthcare – cuts that jeopardize vital Medical Assistance funding while tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy enjoy a vigorous defense by many in Brown’s own party.

“Medicaid allows me to live independently in my home, and I depend on that funding every single day,” said David Sandison of Waltham. “I deserve to know. Will Scott Brown support me or the millionaires?”

Sandison this morning joined Stacy Hart of the Boston Center for Independent Living, healthcare advocate Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, business owner Joseph Rotella and others who demanded answers from Brown on the issue of Medicaid funding.

Whatcha gonna do, Scott Brown?

Hospitals, Healthcare Workers and Patient Advocates Unite to Oppose Proposed Medicare and Medicaid Cuts

BOSTON – Leaders from across the Massachusetts healthcare spectrum are joining together today to oppose proposed Medicare and Medicaid funding cuts Congress is now considering as part of an agreement on national debt reduction.

The Massachusetts Hospital Association (MHA), 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, the Massachusetts Medical Society (MMS), and patient advocacy groupsHealth Care for All joined representatives from the Conference of Boston Teaching Hospitals (COBTH), Massachusetts Council of Community Hospitals, Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, Massachusetts Senior Care Association … at a press conference on the State House steps to sound the alarm on the serious unintended consequences such cuts would create for patients, caregivers and employees.

“The formula-driven, arbitrary budget targets that have been set out as potential elements of an agreement to reduce the national debt and increase the debt ceiling would result in across-the-board cuts to healthcare,” said Veronica Turner, Executive Vice President of 1199SEIU. “Such cuts would be bad for care, bad for jobs, and bad for the overall economy.”

Lynn Nicholas, President & CEO of the Massachusetts Hospital Association (MHA), echoes Turner’s concerns: “Massachusetts hospitals are fully supportive of healthcare reform – including the reduction of costs where possible – as called for by both the Affordable Care Act and several of the state’s recent reform laws …. In fact, hospitals both here and across the country have made great progress in controlling costs and improving quality. But these proposed cuts would seriously damage the overall fiscal health of our hospitals, threaten access to care and well-paying jobs, and severely limit hospitals’ ability to provide training for the physicians of the future. ”

In Massachusetts, hospitals have reduced their anticipated healthcare cost increases by $3.1 billion in 2009 and 2010. Yet healthcare providers continue to be challenged by ongoing government underpayment for care provided through Medicare and Medicaid, and by increased administrative burdens the state Medicaid program now places on caregivers.

“The health of over one million Medicaid recipients in Massachusetts should not be a political bargaining chip,” said Amy Whitcomb Slemmer, executive director of Health Care for All. “We call on Congress and the President to show leadership by protecting this vital program in these challenging economic times.”

“Medicare and Medicaid are the cornerstones of our health care system,” added Lynda M. Young, MD, President of the Massachusetts Medical Society. “We cannot support cuts that would undermine our patients’ well-being.”

“Federal cuts of this magnitude to the state’s Medicaid program would decimate our progress in providing Massachusetts residents with quality affordable healthcare coverage. This is a tragedy we cannot abide,” said the Rev. Hurmon Hamilton, Pastor of Roxbury Presbyterian Church and President of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization.

Cuts to hospitals impede patient access to care in their communities. Hospitals alone are currently absorbing $155 billion in cuts over the next several years. Continued advances in healthcare payment and delivery reform, including access to high quality and affordable care, are greatly dependent on hospitals’ ability to invest in resources such as workforce and health information technology; these efforts are greatly endangered by the proposed federal funding cuts.

The proposed cuts include deep reductions to hospital Medicare reimbursement, Graduate Medical Education (GME) funding, Medicare DSH funding, and eliminating or capping Medicaid provider taxes. All such funding is critical to the life-saving missions of Massachusetts hospitals and to our state’s coverage expansions.

Medicaid cuts would greatly impede the success we’ve made in covering 98% of Massachusetts residents.

Congressman Markey unites with coalition against cuts to health care


Congressman Markey Unites with Coalition Against Cuts To Health Care

Calls on Congress to Defend Against Attack on Medicare and Medicaid for Seniors and Children

Brighton – Congressman Edward Markey will join seniors, working families, and health care providers today at 1 p.m. at the Veronica Smith Senior Center in Brighton to condemn Republican proposals to cut the deficit by sacrificing the quality health care our seniors and children deserve.

Republicans in the House of Representatives are advocating dangerous cuts to Medicare and Medicaid that do nothing to address skyrocketing health care costs or the real causes of federal deficits. Their proposal will cut benefits for seniors, increase premiums and end guaranteed coverage.

Today, Congressman Markey and the Massachusetts Coalition for a Working Economy will let Congress know enough is enough. Cuts to health care, without regard to their deep and harmful impact, won’t solve any deficit issue. Congress will only further burden those who have been through enough.

It is time for Congress to stand up against deep and damaging cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

WHAT: Press Conference Calling Congress to Stand Up Against Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid

WHEN: Thursday, April 21 at 1:00 p.m.

WHO: Seniors, Working Families, and Health Care Providers

WHERE: Veronica Smith Senior Center

20 Chestnut Hill Avenue, Brighton, MA