By Benjamin Day
Massachusetts voters have, for the second straight election, overwhelmingly affirmed their support for single payer health reform by turning in majority ‘Yes’ votes in all fourteen districts where local single payer ballot questions appeared on November 2. The ballots spanned 80 different cities and towns in a state of 351 municipalities, winning in every city and town reporting results so far except two. Five of the districts backing single payer reform voted for Scott Brown in last year’s special senate election, which was largely seen as a referendum on national health reform, showing that the goal of improved and expanded Medicare for All is supported by a diverse range of communities across the state. It is also striking that in a year of political change, and in a year of drawn-out economic suffering, residents recognize that single payer health reform offers the promise of a more just and humanitarian health care system, which would actually cost us less as a society and lift the burden of sky-rocketing health costs from thousands of households, employers, and taxpayers.
Similar local referendum questions passed overwhelmingly in ten representative districts in 2008, and we look forward to building momentum for the state’s single payer bill even further this coming legislative session, which begins in January 2011.
Mass-Care wants to extend congratulations to all of the hard-working volunteers who collected signatures to put these questions on the ballot, got the word out to their local media, worked on public education with community organizations in their districts, and spoke one-on-one with residents of the district on the streets, holding signs, and standing outside of polling places.
Mass-Care also wants to extend its congratulations to the Vermont single payer movement. Peter Shumlin was elected Governor of Vermont running on a single payer platform. This is incredibly exciting as the Vermont legislature recently commissioned Dr. William Hsiao, the designer of Taiwan’s single payer health care system, to draft an implementation and impact study for a potential single payer plan in Vermont.
Not every precinct has yet reported results to the state, but we include partial results in a table below. Official results for every district will be posted on the Boston Globe web-site and on this page when they become available.
|2nd Berkshire||19 of 23||3,433||7,698||69.2%|
|4th Berkshire||25 of 26||3,078||8,145||72.6%|
|1st Franklin||22 of 22||4,584||11,986||72.3%|
|8th Hampden||18 of 18||4,056||5,845||59.0%|
|4th Middlesex||16 of 16||6,332||7,417||53.9%|
|13th Middlesex||12 of 12||6,182||8,226||57.1%|
|14th Middlesex||10 of 11||6,461||12,871||66.6%|
|29th Middlesex||14 of 14||3,891||9,184||70.2%|
|5th Norfolk||14 of 14||6,910||7,818||53.1%|
|11th Norfolk||12 of 12||7,606||8,471||52.7%|
|12th Norfolk||13 of 13||6,998||7,806||52.7%|
|11th and 15th Suffolk*||36 of 36||5,279||19,309||78.5%|
|13th Worcester||11 of 11||5,198||7,107||57.8%|
|Total||222 of 228||70,008||121,883||63.5%|
* Results from Suffolk district are unofficial.
Benjamin Day is executive director of Mass-Care: The Massachusetts Campaign for Single Payer Health Care.