Massachusetts Gubernatorial Candidate Deval Patrick Responds:
I want health care for every man, woman, and child in Massachusetts that is affordable, portable, safe, patient-centered, and as effective as modern science can make it.
I see health care as a common good – like clean air, safe streets, and effective education – and so I believe that government has a role to play in assuring that the conditions exist for the health care system we all want.
Calling the [House health care] bill “a huge opportunity,” Patrick cited his work as a corporate lawyer…and said that health insurance costs are “one of the single most serious concerns that business people face.”
- Rebalancing Long-Term Care. My administration will work to provide more long-term care at home. By moving more funds into community-based services and securing federal matching funds, we will reverse the trend toward delivering care to elders and persons with disabilities in institutions. The implementation of the recently passed “Equal Choice” legislation will be a priority so that older adults, the disabled and their families will see the benefits as soon as possible.
- Property Tax Relief for Elders. We will expand outreach and education efforts to ensure that every elderly homeowner in the state learns of the opportunity to have a portion of their property taxes waived. Using a network of volunteers at nonprofit agencies to counsel elders, we will work to expand access to the “circuit breaker” property tax credit. Unfortunately, most eligible elders don’t know how to use it.
- Cutting Prescription Drug Costs. Using existing authority, I will reduce the cost of prescription drugs through negotiated bulk purchases and the development of new channels of supply. I also strongly support the state Prescription Advantage program and would increase outreach to older adults and the disabled on its availability and use.
- Coordinated Health Care. Health care is a common good and thus I believe that government has a role to play in assuring quality access. I believe that older adults—and their caregivers—need a health care system that is better coordinated, easier to navigate and far less expensive. My administration will work to improve the information flow among all of the players—health care professionals, home care providers, families, caregivers and patients—so that the best health decision can be made by patients, doctors and family members, and not by insurance companies.
- Promoting Work and Civic Engagement Opportunities. I will work with the business, nonprofit and government sectors to make Massachusetts a model state for capturing the contributions of this healthier, more educated and experience-rich generation of older adults as both paid workers and volunteers. Massachusetts will become a “State of Choice” for older workers and their employers by expanding worker retraining programs through community colleges and nonprofits. This will be done specifically in industries where there is great need and by joining with unions to develop best practices to recruit and retain older workers and volunteers within government and nonprofits.
- Restoring Leadership. Under the Patrick administration, the Executive Office of Elder Affairs will be a strong, energetic and powerful force creating policy and programs which target financial and health concerns of current older adults and their families as well as planning for the future needs of this rapidly growing population
Education transforms lives. I believe we must embark on a comprehensive education strategy: one that starts before kindergarten and continues up through public colleges and universities, that is flexible and promotes innovation; that offers sensible education choices; that assesses academic progress comprehensively; that honors teaching as a public service; and prepares young people to be both better workers and better citizens.
Teachers will have the support, compensation, and professional development to enhance their performance and job satisfaction, and administrators will have the tools, training, and authority to be accountable for performance at their schools.