Massachusetts Likely to Reject Question 5 on Universal Health Care
The outcome of Question 5, a Massachusetts universal health care initiative, remained undetermined this morning, according to CNN. With 92% of precincts reporting, 52% of voters have responded no to the measure, while 48% have voted yes (CNN.com). Both the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe reported that the initiative is likely to be defeated. Question 5 would establish a state Health Care Council to devise a universal coverage plan that the Legislature would have to pass by July 1, 2002 (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 9/18). The initiative also would establish "a stringent set of HMO controls, including a requirement that HMOs spend no more than 10% of their revenues on administrative costs and executives' salaries" (Mishra, Boston Globe, 11/8). In addition, it would also prevent future conversions of not-for-profit hospitals, HMOs and insurers to for-profit status, and implement a patients' bill of rights. While many politicians, managed care companies, business and civic groups said the measure would be damaging and costly, a group of health care advocates fought for its passage, even after the Massachusetts Legislature passed a patients' bill of rights in July (Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, 8/18). Commenting on the likelihood of the measure's defeat, Rick Lord, president of the Associated Industries of Massachusetts, said, "I think it means voters understood that even though there are some problems with the health care system, the way the fix them is not to blow it up" (Powell, Boston Herald, 11/8). Andre Guillemin, campaign director for the Yes on 5 coalition, said, "The important thing to take away from this is that a campaign [which] ran a $50,000 operation came just about even with a $5 million operation. We believe that the ... voters did a wonderful job in realizing the benefits that Question 5 would bring to them" (Boston Globe, 11/8). To get updated results on the status on Question 5, go to http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2000/results/index.ballots.htm.This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.