Press Release: 2024-04-02

Health Care Follies

For Immediate Release

Contact: Kimberley Connors, Executive Director, Mass-Care: the Massachusetts Campaign for Single Payer Health Care, 617-297-8011

Mass-Care: the Massachusetts Campaign for Single Payer Health Care has issued the following statement:


Welcome to the Massachusetts Health Care Follies


In 1991, Senator Ed Burke (D-Framingham), co-chair of the Committee on Health Care, pushed through the deregulation of hospital finance, claiming this would reduce health spending, which prompted for-profit hospital chains to enter Massachusetts for the first time.


In 1995, with Citizen Ed Burke (now free of conflict of interest) representing the Hospital Corporation of America, MetroWest Medical Center was purchased by HCA. In 1999, Worcester’s Saint Vincent Hospital was sold to OrNda/Tenet. And in 2010, enter Steward Health Care to purchase the six-hospital chain Caritas Christi from the Archdiocese of Boston.


Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley had concerns, so she extracted promises from Steward that they agree to maintain services at those hospitals for five years. However, three years later, in 2013, Steward closed the pediatric unit at Taunton’s Morton Hospital. In 2014, Quincy Medical Center was shuttered. NO penalties were imposed as state officials feared a negative impact to the entire health care system. And there was no real enforcement mechanism in place.


Steward went on to sell its hospital laboratory services to another for-profit, Quest Diagnostics, in 2014 and then, in 2016, sold its hospital real estate to Medical Properties Trust, so it could buy more U.S. hospitals. It’s a business model that has been described as a Ponzi scheme.


Unsurprisingly, after Steward contracted with the government of Malta in 2018 to manage its three public hospitals, a Maltese appellate court recently ruled that Steward’s control of these hospitals must revert to the government, amid claims of fraud and corruption.


Our health is too important to leave to the chaos and vultures of the marketplace. Only a fundamental redirecting of priorities and policy can create a just health care system and meet the needs of our communities.


Unfortunately, House Speaker Ron Mariano (D-Quincy) continues to push the false solution of a “free-market” health care system and so, on March 27, 2024, the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing voted to send An Act Establishing Medicare for All in Massachusetts (the Massachusetts Medicare for All bills S.744 and H.1239) to “study” – a polite way of killing them.


The Act would establish the Massachusetts Health Care Trust, a single payer of all health care costs in the Commonwealth. The Act eliminates profit and waste in health care, expands coverage for all residents for all medically necessary care, and saves the Commonwealth 30% of current spending. (


Voters can go to to learn if their legislators cosponsor the legislation.


There is no Steward fiasco under single payer health care. Under the Act, the Trust explicitly has the power of “funding capital investments for adequate health care facilities and resources statewide." (Section 2(a)) 


Frederick Douglass once stated, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will.”


We demand an equitable health care system! We don’t need weak and ineffectual “fixes” that leave monopolistic corporations in control. We demand that the Legislature bring back the Massachusetts Medicare for All bills that the committee “sent to study” and have an open and democratic debate on them.


Health care is a human right, not a commodity. Bold action is required. The Massachusetts Legislature must do its job of protecting the citizens of this Commonwealth. Will they?




Mass-Care’s mission is to establish a single payer health care system in Massachusetts so that all residents of the Commonwealth will have access to comprehensive, quality, affordable, and equitable health care, publicly financed and free of out-of-pocket cost at point-of-care, because it is basic to life and human dignity.