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South Boston

South Boston
'Community outreach workers are so important'

“As a community outreach worker in South Boston I have several perspectives on the Health Now! legislation. First, the bill raises the tobacco tax which will help reduce smoking. Studies show that when you raise tobacco taxes smoking declines, particularly among teenagers which is a population I work with. That’s a good thing.

Pam McBurnie, community health worker

“The bill also expands health coverage for many people who don’t have it now. A lot of my patients live in the three housing developments in South Boston. Many are working at jobs that don’t offer health insurance and they can’t afford private insurance. For children there are programs like MassHealth and the Children’s Medical Security Plan. But adults fall through the cracks. When people don’t have insurance they avoid preventive care, annual physicals, pap smears, mammograms, prostate screens that are routine for most people. There is also a group of young people, 19 to 21, who don’t have penis health insurance. They’re not going on to college and get dropped from their parents’ insurance, or they might be working in low﷓wage jobs that don’t provide insurance. So there are a number of people walking around with no health insurance. The Health Now! bill will help all of these people.

“The bill will also support and expand the work of community health outreach workers. Most outreach workers live in the communities where they work. They know the people they work with. That’s what makes our work so successful. When people know you, they trust you and you are able to help them better. Our job is so important. We are literally the bridge between the patients in the community and the health care system. As community outreach workers, we would like to get some recognition for the work we do. We would like to have more stability so we don’t have to live from grant to grant. The Health Now! bill will help do that.”






HealthNow! The Massachusetts Chapter of the Alliance for a Healthy New England
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