During Monday night’s action, leaders from across GBIO shared personal stories of struggles connected to these issues:
Bonny Gilbert and Michael Rubenstein, co-chairs of the GBIO Health Care Action Team, reviewed the policy goals of GBIO’s legislative campaign, and the politics it would take to win. Senate President Karen Spilka, Senator Cindy Friedman and Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders spoke of their commitment and their actions to address our issues. Both Spilka and Sudders shared their own stories of struggling with mental health care of family members.
Before the action closed in prayer, GBIO leaders committed to holding in-district meetings with members of the House of Representatives to push for legislative action in the house, with the goal of passing legislation this session.
Over 85 people from 43 guest organization, including the Boston Teachers Union, St. Cecelias Catholic Church, Unite Here Local 26 and Hyde Park Seventh Day Adventist, to name a few, joined GBIO in action. These institutions are looking to engage with GBIO, either as allies or as prospective new members, as part of GBIO’s refounding. Last May, current GBIO leaders voted to Refound GBIO by 2021, with the goal of bringing in 10-20 new institutions.
GBIO is pushing for real reform in the 2019-2020 session of the Massachusetts Legislature by:
GBIO and coalition partners recently scored our first win in this campaign - saving $140 million in prescription drug costs in the 2020 state budget.
This day of action was part of a broader GBIO Health Care legislative campaign that will span the legislative session and build on past victories in health care. In this legislative campaign, GBIO is pushing for real reform in the current session of the Massachusetts Legislature by:
Massachusetts consumers and taxpayers will save over one billion dollars of healthcare costs over the next seven years as a result of price caps established in response to action by the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization (GBIO). The cost savings are based on a report by the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, a state research agency established by a law championed by GBIO in 2012.
Beth Israel and Lahey Health Systems and a combination of 13 hospitals have been attempting to merge into a single healthcare system since the beginning of 2017. By forming the second largest healthcare system in Massachusetts, BILH believes it will be better able to compete against Partners Healthcare, the dominant healthcare system in Massachusetts. GBIO has been fighting for consumers and taxpayers to ensure that the merger would not cause a dramatic increase in costs. When the Health Policy Commission predicted that the merger would drive up healthcare costs by as much as $230 million dollars per year, GBIO challenged Attorney General Maura Healey and other state agencies to protect consumers from this outrageous increase in cost.
At a 1400-person action, held on October 22nd at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, GBIO leaders called on Attorney General Maura Healey to fight for conditions “with teeth” in the proposed merger, to protect consumers from increasing costs and declining access, particularly for low income and communities of color.
On November 29th, she announced an unprecedented seven-year price cap to ensure that Beth Israel Lahey Health does not take advantage of its market power to increase its prices. The agreement between Attorney General Healy and BILH also addressed other GBIO demands, including improved access for the Massachusetts Medicaid population and $72 million in support of lower-cost settings for healthcare.
In an interview with WBUR radio, Bonny Gilbert, co-chair of the GBIO healthcare action team, said, "We would like to see this kind of stronger language at least be the beginnings of more constraints on Partners and some of the other health care providers." And, says Gilbert, the caps must not be allowed to expire for BILH.
WCVB Channel 5 highlighted GBIO’s involvement in this merger.