Access to Treatment Options

The first big vote I took in the House, in 2006, was for the Massachusetts universal health care bill which has become a model for our national legislation. I took that vote with qualms – about insufficient controls on rising costs, and about the plight of those earning just a bit too much for subsidized health plans, and feeling squeezed by costs. I knew there would be “bugs” to work out.


The success of our health care law is demonstrated by the fact that 96% of our population has health care coverage, and there are many indicators of quality improvement. Its shortcomings are also evident: out of pocket costs for insurance and health plan subscribers continue to rise, as does overall health care spending. Insurance companies, rather than doctors, tend to dictate a patient’s options, and often do not cover beneficial treatments, or do much to prevent disease and encourage wellness.


I strongly support the adoption of a universal, single payer health care system. I supported such a system before I voted to adopt our universal health care bill. I continue to think of our current, highly flawed, universal health care system as an intermediate step on the way to a unified, single payer system.

Supporting People with Disabilities – and their Personal Care Attendants (PCAs)

Also in late September, I rallied outside the State House to protest the Baker administration’s setting of a 40 hour a week maximum for the PCAs caring for people living with serious disabilities. Getting home care by PCAs allows many disabled and elderly people to live in their communities. The alternative of nursing home care is not only soul-deadening, but far more expensive to pay for. Along with a number of legislative colleagues, I’m continuing to push for reconsideration of this callous and short-sighted rule.

October 04, 2016

Victory: Making Breast Cancer Screening Work for all Women

I'm proud to announce that both the House and Senate have enacted my bill to require changes to the information reported to women about their mammogram results. Several other states have similar laws, and they've been shown to prompt additional testing for women whose breast cancer would not otherwise have been discovered at an early stage. Here's the sad backstory of the bill I filed:


In the summer of 2012, a constituent called me to say that she'd been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer just 7 months after a mammogram that showed no abnormalities. The missed diagnosis was attributed to her having dense breast tissue; a not uncommon condition, but one known to mask the presence of tumors on x-rays. She hadn't known those facts, and her doctors hadn't told her - what, she asked me, was I going to do to prevent other women from finding themselves in the same situation?


I filed a breast density notification bill in January 2013, which bill requires radiologists to notify patients about the degree of breast tissue density shown on a mammogram, and what it could mean - dense breast tissue is associated with a slightly increased risk of breast cancer, as well as sometimes obscuring tumors on mammograms. This bill  will require Informing patients if they have dense breast tissue, and requires consideration of whether further screening is appropriate. This will be a lifesaving bill, and I am asking Governor Patrick to sign it soon.

June 21, 2014

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Massachusetts State House

Room 473B

Boston, MA 02133


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