HEALTH CARE

Health care is a human right. As a longtime advocate of Medicare for All, Shannon is committed to ensuring that everyone has real access to the care they need. While Massachusetts has some of the best hospitals and health care facilities in the world, we are not immune from corporate consolidation and anticompetitive behavior that is driving up health care costs for patients. Similarly, despite some progress in holding opioid manufacturers accountable, we still have a ways to go to end the opioid epidemic that has ravaged our communities. Shannon will use the full power of the office to reverse the tide of corporate consolidation in the health care sector, stand up for nurses and health care professionals, and ensure greater health equity for all residents. 

As Attorney General, Shannon will:

    1. Combat consolidation and anticompetitive behavior among health care providers;
    2. Ensure that nurses and health care professionals have safe and dignified working conditions;
    3. Increase investigations into opioid manufacturers;  
    4. Advocate for Medicare for All;
    5. Proactively advocate for legislation to further health equity;
    6. Defend abortion rights and enforce our reproductive health care laws.

Combat Consolidation and Anticompetitive Behavior

The Attorney General’s has the important power to oversee and approve hospital mergers. While we of course want to see more access to care statewide, it should not be concentrated in the hands of the few biggest providers. This type of concentration leads to more and more corporate abuses of power and anticompetitive practices, both of which have severe negative impacts on affordability for patients, as well as the cost to the state for reimbursing health care costs. 

The glaring inadequacy of our health care system was clear long before COVID laid bare the gaps in our social safety net and public health system. It is critical that we expand the number of, and access to, community health centers across the Commonwealth.

As Attorney General, Shannon will:

      • Bring greater scrutiny to potential hospital mergers to ensure they are in the best interests of patients and do not drive up costs;
      • Empower the Antitrust, Healthcare, and other relevant divisions in the office to investigate anticompetitive contracting that only serves to enrich large healthcare systems;
      • Partner with the legislature to pass legislation granting the Attorney General’s Office stronger tools to investigate and prosecute anticompetitive behavior.

Fight for Nurses and Health Care Professionals

Nurses have been essential workers vital to our communities long before the COVID-19 pandemic put it on full display. Despite the contributions nurses and health care professionals make to our communities, they routinely face substandard working conditions, unsafe nurse-to-patient ratios, and requirements to work unpaid hours off the clock. Having spent decades fighting for workers in unsafe and undignified conditions, Shannon will fight for nurses and health care staff to ensure that they get the respect they deserve in the workplace. 

As Attorney General, Shannon will: 

      • Ensure that nurses and professional health care staff have dignified working conditions that reflect their contributions to our communities;
      • Work with nurses to investigate and address unsafe nurse to patient ratios;
      • Ensure that nurses are paid for all of the time they work and not forced to work unpaid off the clock.

Hold Opioid Manufacturers Accountable

2,234 people died of opioid overdoses in Massachusetts in 2021. That’s more than one death every four hours in just our state alone. These drugs are devastating our communities and killing our citizens. While we have made some progress in the form of settlements with the manufacturers, they are only one link in the chain. Our response to the opioid epidemic must be a public health response  focused on providing access to treatment, rehabilitation, and resources, not incarceration.

As Attorney General, Shannon will:

      • Work in close partnership with District Attorneys across the Commonwealth to ensure they have the resources they need to address the opioid crisis through the lens of public health and equity;
      • Advocate for harm reduction strategies, including safe consumption sites, that connect individuals with treatment and other resources;
      • Expand investigations into opioid manufacturers and build off of the Attorney General’s ongoing litigation.

Medicare for All

In the richest country in the history of the world all people should have access to comprehensive health care. Since the passage of Massachusetts’ health care reform law in 2006, we have provided an example for the rest of the country with some of the lowest rates of uninsured residents. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, as of 2020 Massachusetts had the lowest uninsured rate in the country with all but 2.4% of the population covered. Massachusetts must ensure that health care is provided as a basic human right.

The need for Medicare for All was clear before COVID-19 further exposed the gaps in our public health system and social safety net. Patients routinely delay or decline to seek out care due to lack of adequate coverage, and high co-pays, deductibles, and insufficient prescription coverage often have the same deterrent effect of not having health insurance at all. Inadequate coverage for mental health care and support to treat substance use disorder unjustly drive far too many people into the criminal legal system rather than ensuring they get the help and care they need. Single-payer health care would eliminate these obstacles, reduce costs across the board, and save countless lives.

As Attorney General, Shannon will:

      • Fiercely advocate for Medicare for All both at the national and state level;
      • Support legislation to create a single-payer health care system in Massachusetts.

Advocate for Legislation to Further Health Equity

Advancing health equity requires every branch of government and Shannon will be active in partnering with the State House to champion and pass needed legislation.

As Attorney General, Shannon will advocate for legislation to:

      • Ensure that health equity is meaningfully incorporated into every level of government;
      • Enact a single-payer health care system in Massachusetts to guarantee health care as a human right;
      • Remove barriers to accessing comprehensive mental health care;
      • Increase transparency about the financial holdings of hospitals who receive taxpayer money and assess fines against any such hospital that gives a CEO a compensation package greater than 100 times the salary of their lowest paid employee.

Defend Abortion Rights and Enforce Our Reproductive Health Care Laws

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s horrific decision overturning Roe v. Wade, it is critical that our next Attorney General is a seasoned, experienced lawyer who knows how to effectively use the law and the courts to stand up for reproductive justice. It is not enough that Massachusetts has strong state laws on the books to protect reproductive health care here. It is imperative that our next Attorney General knows how to use the law as a tool to protect and improve people’s lives and ensure that Massachusetts is a safe haven for anyone who needs abortion care and other reproductive health services, no matter where they are from. Shannon will be a tireless champion for reproductive justice. You can read her full plan here.

As Attorney General, Shannon will:

      • Defend and enforce our reproductive health care laws;
      • Fight for policies and legislation to further abortion access and reproductive justice, support patients and providers, and increase education;
      • Investigate crisis pregnancy centers;
      • Ensure racial justice throughout our health care system.