Greater Boston Interfaith Organization Presses for Universal Healthcare in Massachusetts

March 5, 2006

Source: The Boston Globe

On March 5, 2006 The Boston Globe reported, "Backers of universal health insurance yesterday refused to throw their support behind a compromise to expand coverage that is emerging in the Legislature unless the plan becomes law, and vowed to continue pushing for a far costlier 2006 ballot initiative that would hike cigarette and payroll taxes to bring healthcare to all in Massachusetts. Members of the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, a coalition of 65 local religious institutions, and Health Care For All said they would press ahead with the ballot initiative until they were satisfied that the legislative compromise had been enacted and that it represented, in the words of one activist, 'a true expansion of healthcare.' The tough talk raised the prospect of an expensive ballot fight that could pit liberal groups like the interfaith organization against business groups and perhaps tobacco companies. GBIO members have gathered 113,000 signatures for the ballot initiative and said yesterday they would continue mobilizing for an additional 20,000 to ensure the proposal makes the November ballot... Pesner said the legislative plan, still in negotiations in the House and Senate, was too lacking in detail to determine whether it met what he called a 'moral imperative' to provide health insurance for the approximately 500,000 people who go without coverage in Massachusetts. GBIO leaders said they would try to decide by July whether to abandon their ballot plan."