State Rep. McMurtry Weighs in on Last Week's Obamacare Ruling
State Representative Paul McMurtry (D) gives his two cents on last week's historic Obamacare ruling.
National news has been swamped with opinions since last Thursday's ruling that the federal mandate in what has been commonly referred to as Obamacare, or techincally, The Protection and Affordable Care Act, passed by a 5-4 margin in the Supreme Court.
As pundits and politicians begin to argue over the in's and out's of the bill and what this historic case means to the United States, Patch reached out to Dedham's local State Rep. Paul McMurtry in order to get his thoughts on the matter.
What are your general thoughts and/or reaction to last Thursday's Supreme Court ruling on The Protection and Affordable Care Act?
"I believe the decision re-affirms what many believe that basic healthcare coverage is a right and not a privilege and that every American should have access to healthcare."
What role will Massachusetts play in the national debate as a state that has already adopted many of the mandates imposed by this ruling and your thoughts on Massachusettes successes with this model for healthcare reform?
"As far as the role of Massachusetts goes, I take personal pride in being in the legislature in the commonwealth where we set landmark reform and legislation that has become the platform for the national laws. Certainly, the role that Massachusetts has played in healthcare reform has been a major role on the national level and is based on Governor Romney's plan. We can be seen as leading the nation and should be proud that we were part of the process that is part of the commonwealth and that is now part of the national model. Already, as you could be aware, 98 percent of all Massachusetts residents currently have health insurance. For me, it is a matter of personal pride [...] that we have something that is so important to the health of our community which extends to the country."
What are your thoughts on the failures of healthcare in Massachusetts within this model?
"Perhaps there aren't specific failures, but I do see that there is always room for improvement and sometimes we don't get it 100 percent right, but we always leave room to re-visit. For instance, we just took up last month, major healthcare reform that I can envision being part of the national reform as well which focused on cost-containment to keep costs down for families and individuals which will add to the savings of billions and billions of dollars [...]"
Representative McMurty is referring legislation in mid-May that focused on cost analysis for current Massachusetts healthcare legislation. Click here to visit the Massachusetts Medical Socities' website to read articles detailing the legislation McMurtry is referring to.
"[This recent reform] was based on a model of wellness with incentives for individuals to stay health and work at staying healthy rather than a sick-paid model which has incentives for when you get sick and cumbersome expenses through medical costs and adminstration. Another interesting aspect of this cost-containment model is that of medical records processed. You can travel throughout this global economy of ours and access your financial information anywhere in world, so right now, you can go from a community hospital within the commonwealth to a major training hospital in Boston and now have access to the same medical records no matter where you are or where you go. The objective of this legislation is to have your medical records be easy to transfer from one institution to the next."
The national debate right now seems to focus on the cost of this impending mandate, what are your thoughts on how America will afford this new healthcare model?
"It's obviously, the state and federal budgets take an enormous amount of taxpayers dollars. I know it's going to be, right now [Massachusett's] cost-containment bill is going to committee, so we will see here in the commonwealth if we can have some additional enhancements to make it easier and more afforable for families. I'm confident the discussion will continue on a state and national level towards these ideals as we continue to make improvements to the system."
What advice would you offer other states confronting major healthcare overhauls due to this historic ruling?
"Keep any open mind to the process and work across the aisle. It should be a bi-partisan effort so we can at least have the availability for every American citizen no matter what state or what socio-economic background you come from should have access to affordable healthcare. This should be a priority for every legislator throughout the country."