Health Now! Hearing - A Great Success!
Nearly 300 hundred people turned out on May 9th to show their support for the Health Now! legislation. Our months of planning, coordinating and outreach really paid off at this hearing before the Joint Health Care and Taxation Committees. People from all over Massachusetts demonstrated their support of the bill by attending the hearing, testifying before the committees and visiting their Representatives and Senators. People testifying in support of the bill, numbering over 50, truly represented the breadth of the Health Now! Coalition – consumer health care, tobacco control and public health advocates, health care providers, labor unions, insurers and grassroots supporters. In addition, many legislators turned out to get on record in support of the Health Now! legislation.
|Lynn supporters at the May 9th hearing|
The Health Now! Hearing was held on Wednesday, May 9, 2001 at the State House.
Senate President Thomas Birmingham (D-Chelsea), a smoker, said that “[he] will pay this tax to ensure a life of decency, dignity and some security for the decent, hardworking people who make up sperm the vast majority of the uninsured.”
And we were thrilled that both tobacco survivors and uninsured people were able to come and share their stories. Brockton resident Ronaldo Martinez, the former baseball umpire who stars in the Department of Public Health’s anti-smoking TV ads, lost his larynx to cancer after 29 years of smoking, and speaks through a voice box. He said death is not the only consequence smokers face. “Some of them probably will not die, but their life will be changed forever,” he said.
Provincetown resident Josh Richardson, whose single mom died in 1995 when he was 13, said he lost his MassHealth coverage after he graduated from high school. Richardson does not have health insurance through his job as a chimneysweeper, and had to drive himself to the hospital when he cut his hand badly enough to need stitches. “I couldn’t afford the ambulance ride,” he said.
There is still much work to be done, but we should all consider this day a victory.
Thank you to everyone who helped make it a success !