GBIO has been on a three -year journey to win new healthcare legislation, culminating with a far-reaching bill signed by the Governor on January 8. Through our 2018 House Meetings, we ID’d our demands--- prescription drug and behavioral health access and affordability, and ending surprise medical billing. Our research and our relationships with Health Care For All and other allies, forged in the fight for health care expansions over a decade ago, also helped ready us for a successful campaign.
In Nov. 2019 we ran a nearly 900- person action with Senate and administration leaders and gained their commitments. To pressure the House, GBIO local leaders ran two rounds of In-District meetings with representatives, attended by hundreds of GBIO members, before and during the pandemic.
When the pandemic hit, followed by the Black Lives Matter protests, GBIO pivoted and folded our health care campaign into an intensive Racial Justice Campaign on multiple issues.
What did we win on health care?
- Covid-19 care and coverage: guarantees coverage without co pays for treatment by both in network and out of network providers
- Guaranteed coverage for outpatient Covid-19 testing
- Increases protection against unfair surprise medical billing
- Prescription drugs: A precedent setting process set last year to reduce drug prices in MassHealth. Over $100 million has already been saved, which is critical during this health and economic crisis. Unfortunately, we could not build the power necessary to overcome pharma’s opposition to putting those cost protections in place for those on private insurance.
- Telehealth: Now guaranteed, which has been vital during the pandemic, especially behavioral health
We have lots to celebrate but there is more to be done--- the pandemic makes the failures and inequities in the health care system painfully clear every day.