Labor Party Ballot
ballot question on single-payer health care read:
the State Senator from this district be instructed to initiate and
support legislation to create a health care system for all the residents
of Massachusetts that:
universal comprehensive health care services that include the freedom to
choose doctors and other health care professionals, facilities and
the role of insurance companies in health care and creates an insurance
trust fund that is publicly administered and fairly funded; and in order
to safeguard the availability of quality health care, stops the buying,
selling, managing and closing down of health care facilities by
Labor Party-initiated ballot questions on health care and
education enjoyed wide support in selected electoral districts on Nov. 7.
In one State Senatorial district and in two State
Representative districts, voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot question
initiated by the Labor Party calling for a single-payer health insurance
system for Massachusetts residents.
And in six State Representative districts, a Labor
Party-initiated referendum calling for an end to required high stakes testing
of high school students received 2-to-1 approval.
Voters in the Hampshire-Franklin Senate District, in the more
rural western part of the state, approved the single-payer ballot question by
a vote of 37,000 to 17,000, or 69 to 31 percent. This vote was particularly
important because the senator, Stan Rosenberg, is Assistant Majority Leader.
Rosenberg has declared support for universal health care, but refuses to
endorse "Massachusetts Health Care Trust Legislation," which would
create a single-payer system in the state.
In the two State Representative districts, both in eastern
Massachusetts, the question passed by a 60 to 40 percent margin.
The Massachusetts Labor Party initiated the single-payer
ballot question as part of its campaign to build support for the legislation,
which has been bottled up in committee for several years by the Democratic
Party, which controls the state legislature. The Labor Party is part of the
MassCare coalition, which has led the fight for single-payer health insurance
in the state. MassCare and senior organizations took part in collecting
signatures to get the question on the ballot and then campaigned for its
In contrast to the voter approval for the Labor Party
initiative, a statewide binding referendum question (Question 5) calling for
universal health care failed. Controversy arose because the authors
specifically refused to use the single-payer model as an explanation of how
the health care system would be financed. This left the ballot initiative open
to attack from HMOs that it was financially irresponsible.
In those districts where the Labor Party initiative was on the
ballot, the universal health-care referendum question also passed, but by a
Meanwhile, urban voters from New Bedford to Holyoke voted
overwhelmingly to end the use of the MCAS test as a graduation requirement.
Six districts with large low-income, minority, immigrant and working-class
populations approved the referendum question by large margins.
The high-stakes testing was introduced by the Republican
governor and backed by the Democratic legislature.
In voting "yes" on the referendum, voters also
rejected vouchers and for-profit schools, and called for continued and
equitable state funding of education, smaller class sizes and fair and
authentic student assessment. "This vote serves notice to the legislature
that our families want their schools under public control and not turned into
profit-seeking businesses," said Bill Bumpus, a longtime community
organizer and Labor Party member in Somerville.
UE News - 11/00