A Democrat with a backbone: Gov Deval Patrick

Letter From Governor Patrick to the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation on the Affordable Care Act

Friday, November 15, 2013 – Governor Deval Patrick today sent the following letter regarding the Affordable Care Act to the Massachusetts Congressional Delegation:

As you consider current proposals to change the Affordable Care Act (ACA), I write to remind you about what we have learned from health care reform in Massachusetts, and to inform you of some of our experiences so far with implementing it.

We have seen firsthand the positive changes brought about by a strong individual insurance market with protections that ensure a basic level of care. Individuals are protected from being dropped from insurance when they need it most, or being denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Benefits must meet minimum standards, and there are limits on individuals’ exposure to out-of-pocket costs for needed health care. And the rest of us are protected against having our premiums inflated or our taxes tapped to pick up the tab for the uninsured or underinsured. With these basic features in place, we have achieved near universal coverage, better health and slower growth in health costs. With the ACA, the same can and will happen for the country.

Much has been made of the fact that some Americans have had their current policies canceled by their insurers. Some of that, we know, is in the normal course of annual insurance renewals. Some is because the existing policies do not provide the minimum level of coverage required by the ACA. So long as the means for individuals to learn about and enroll in affordable alternatives is available, through an improved website, a call center or otherwise, the transition of people from non-compliant policies to compliant ones should proceed.

Nonetheless, the public has been poorly informed about this transition, and too many consumers are unable to enroll conveniently in compliant plans. For some, the temporary delay proposed yesterday by the President may be appropriate. Our experience in Massachusetts tells us that our health plans and their customers have prepared for the transition and are unlikely to need or to use the additional time.

However, any delay in requiring plans to meet the basic standards of the ACA must only be temporary. Leaving non-compliant plans to remain permanently in place means we revert to the status quo: a broken health care system where many people carry policies that don’t cover them when they get seriously ill, and where those with comprehensive coverage pay for those uninsured or underinsured in higher premiums and taxes. Permitting plans to be permanently non-compliant means the pool of individuals who do purchase plans through the marketplaces will likely be sicker on average, and their options will be more expensive and constrained. And it will disrupt the market-based model on which premiums and policy options hinge.

We benefit in Massachusetts from broad, bipartisan support for health reform and the willingness of our legislature — encouraged by business, labor, industry, patient advocates and others — to make refinements to our plan as we go. The President does not enjoy that collaboration with the Congress, and the American people suffer as a result. If you wish to take further legislative action to ensure the successful extension of the benefits of the ACA to all our citizens, I would humbly propose that you consider granting the administration broader authority to make adjustments to the ACA by regulation so long as such regulations advance the fundamental goal. That way any administration can make changes in the details of implementation quickly in response to lessons learned along the way.

The fundamental goal of the Affordable Care Act is to give all Americans access to reliable, quality health insurance at a reasonable cost. Guaranteeing a basic level of coverage for everyone is the first step towards fixing our broken health care system and promoting a healthier population. We have seen in Massachusetts how well it works and how important it is. While the transition is challenging for some, I urge you not to lose sight of the long-term good for all as you consider any changes or adjustments to the Affordable Care Act.

For these reasons, I urge you to oppose any bill that extends access to non-compliant plans beyond a short transition period.

With continued thanks for your partnership, I am

Respectfully yours,

Governor Deval L. Patrick

99 Responses to “A Democrat with a backbone: Gov Deval Patrick”

  1. 1 utaustinliberal
    November 15, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    Bravo! Fantastic!

  2. 5 JER
    November 15, 2013 at 12:37 pm


    (Reuters) – The Dow and the S&P 500 climbed to fresh highs on Friday in the wake of reassuring remarks by Federal Reserve chair nominee Janet Yellen that the central bank’s accommodative policies would continue. … http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/15/us-markets-stocks-idUSBRE9AA0IH20131115

  3. 6 GGail
    November 15, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Good West Coast morning Chipsticks & TOD family.

    Thanks HF – that’s a GREAT letter from Gov Patrick!

  4. November 15, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Great letter & Good morning TOD. Well, look who’s first 🙂

    Thank you UT and Chips for all you DO!!!

    Urge everyone to read and share the link in this tweet that I posted late yesterday evening …


  5. 14 PoliticalJunkessa
    November 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Love Governor Patrick!

  6. 15 utaustinliberal
    November 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    • 16 ERICFIVE
      November 15, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      If those “humans” are black, brown or poor our media puts no value on their lives (that is why Medicaid expansion is either ignored or portrayed in a negative light). White privilege and the blinders it creates leads to the petty, hateful and heartless “analysis” we get from our media. BTW, I thought that the MSM had deemed the Gulf Oil Spill as PBO’s Katrina (that nonsense did not “stick”, so now we have this). It is getting harder and harder not to HATE these people.

    • 17 nathkatun7
      November 15, 2013 at 5:13 pm

      You know UT, for these media and GOP folks the humanity of the poor, especially if they are non-white, is of no cern. That’s why they go around using these disgusting analogy.

  7. 18 anniebella
    November 15, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    .I call Senator Hagan office, left a message as to how I feel about anyone derailing or damaging the Afford Care Act.

  8. 19 Judith Fardig
    November 15, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Governor Deval Patrick was the most impressive speaker at the Obamacare Summit on November 4th next to President Obama himself. He pushed back hard on the media narrative that President Obama lied about people being able to keep their (inadequate) insurance if they liked it. The media smells blood in the water, and they are piling on to try to drown the good news about the ACA rather than help inform people.

  9. 20 hopefruit2
    November 15, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    Oh my…this man is sick and delusional. And I don’t mean this in a funny way.

  10. 28 utaustinliberal
    November 15, 2013 at 12:47 pm

  11. 29 hopefruit2
    November 15, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Tell Matthew Dowd that we like our President and we will keep him. He’s doing this country a whole LOTTA good!!!

  12. 30 utaustinliberal
    November 15, 2013 at 12:50 pm

  13. 31 Bill R.
    November 15, 2013 at 12:54 pm

  14. 33 utaustinliberal
    November 15, 2013 at 12:55 pm

    • 34 ERICFIVE
      November 15, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      Comparing ACA rollout and computer glitches to Hurricane Katrina is as insultingly stupid as comparing immigration reform to the Holocaust.

  15. 35 GGail
    November 15, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    Thank you Gov Patrick for making this bold statement:
    “We benefit in Massachusetts from broad, bipartisan support for health reform and the willingness of our legislature — encouraged by business, labor, industry, patient advocates and others — to make refinements to our plan as we go. The President does not enjoy that collaboration with the Congress, and the American people suffer as a result. If you wish to take further legislative action to ensure the successful extension of the benefits of the ACA to all our citizens, I would humbly propose that you consider granting the administration broader authority to make adjustments to the ACA by regulation so long as such regulations advance the fundamental goal. That way any administration can make changes in the details of implementation quickly in response to lessons learned along the way.”

  16. November 15, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    After being called out so often – especially by Tommy Christopher – Ezra is now trying to look like a balanced journalist 🙄

  17. 49 hopefruit2
    November 15, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Exactly. I’m really glad that people are pushing back on this crap….

    • 50 anniebella
      November 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm

      Can we get that picture to that little weasel G. Stephanopoulos. Is this an out and out attack on Obamacare by the Clintonites. First it was that ugly big mouth James Carville, then it was Bill Clinton, and now Stephanopoulos. Clinton folks.

      • 51 Puddin'
        November 15, 2013 at 6:00 pm

        GOD don’t like ugly and very few pretty…these “Clintonites” are going to be in for sad and rude awaking in 2016!!!!!!!!!

  18. 52 Sandee
    November 15, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    OT but had our own WTH moment re ACA just now. Have group insurance thru hubby’s employer. Good coverage, reasonable deductibles, etc. meds, maternity, checkups, and never had an issue with claims,etc. Employees get notice today, that company must renew early to avoid 34% increase in premiums Jan 1st due to “stringent requirements of the ACA”. only a 4% increase if we renew in December. Am I over reacting to fear that millions now covered through employer sponsored group plans, may be receiving this same message, now, or in January, and that it will lead to even greater uproar over ‘not keeping their plan’ or facing large increases in premiums? Hubby says folks are shocked because they all thought it was ‘good’ insurance that would be compliant, with some premium increase (as usual) but not a 34% increase. Maybe we should have expected this, but most of coworkers didn’t. Has anyone else seen this from their employers? Sorry must post and run as I have a Dr’s appointment Lol ! Will chk back later for any TOD input re this. Kinda made me go ugh, not another thing for people to bad mouth ACA . Love you all. Thanks.

    • 53 hopefruit2
      November 15, 2013 at 1:13 pm

      Sandee when you return, could you give us the exact name of your health insurance plan – and the general area you’re from. That would clarify what exactly this is about, who is behind it and why they are making such outlandish claims that the ACA is forcing them to renew at 34% increase.

      • 54 Don
        November 15, 2013 at 1:25 pm

        It seems to me that Sandee’s husband works for a company that will lie to its employees without blinking an eye. If anything Sandee’s premiums should be going down, not up. Hurry back Sandee and tell us the name of your hubby’s health insurance plan.

      • 56 Sandee
        November 15, 2013 at 5:12 pm

        TY hf, don,Judith et al. Am so late returning, sorry. May take this over to new thread. But, it is a concern to me for sure! We are (sadly) in TX. Coverage is BCBSofTx. Letter to employees came from co’s chief financial officer. Have asked hubby to ask directly exactly how our current policy is not in compliance. He won’t have that opportunity until next week. Meantime I will be pulling up our coverages, etc and try to find the ‘non compliance’ based on what I know about ACA. Since I’ve heard other insurers have sent out misleading info to their individual market customers, I am very suspicious about this perhaps being another example of same, only directed to employer group plans. I am determined to get to the bottom of this. Maybe we had a crap plan and I didn’t realize it, or perhaps I am not clear on ACA requirements. Since am both a TOD-bot and an O-bot, think I have a pretty good knowledge of ACA, but admittedly miss stuff. Anyhow, thanks for feedback and support. BTW, am daily lurker, rarely poster, but try to do my part by RTing all the great info you all share. I am @sanpptx just FYI in case you’ve seen me sharing. Will post again when I get more info. Thanks all!

        • 57 hopefruit2
          November 15, 2013 at 5:18 pm

          Thanks Sandee for the update! This is useful to know. BCBS of Texas. And I find it strange that the letter about health care is coming from the company’s CFO and not the HR manager…Hmm….As you said, there are definitely grounds for suspicion.

          Anyway, I will do some further research into this BCBS of Texas. Maybe UT (or someone from TX) might have some insights based on the local media reports from down there…

    • 58 Judith Fardig
      November 15, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      What state are you in, Sandee? Aren’t state insurance commissioners supposed to approve premiums increases? This one sounds way out of line and those letters a scare tactic.

    • 59 Obama Grandmama
      November 15, 2013 at 7:31 pm

      I wonder if you scan the letter and attach it to an email with your explanations and questions to Kathleen Sebellious’ office if that could help you and alert them to any potential problems? I sent an email with questions to that office soon after the bill passed and got a very helpful answer. I called my own insurance that I have through my retirement. They are in a red state too, AK. They told me that the insurance is Grandfathered in due to being in place before 2010. I also asked about a cap on it and it does have a lifetime cap which I am thinking makes it out of compliance with ACA.

      • 60 Sandee
        November 15, 2013 at 8:04 pm

        ObG thanks! Great idea, and I will do that. Have just now heard that BCBSOFTX may be doing this statewide, as co-workers wife at a different different co, was told this as well, renew early or next year big increase!

  19. 61 utaustinliberal
    November 15, 2013 at 1:06 pm

  20. November 15, 2013 at 1:09 pm

  21. November 15, 2013 at 1:10 pm

  22. 64 hopefruit2
    November 15, 2013 at 1:10 pm

  23. 65 Bill R.
    November 15, 2013 at 1:11 pm

  24. 66 Jewelz
    November 15, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    We should demand that the NYT and George Stephanopoulos apologize to the people of New Orleans and everybody affected by Katrina by comparing a website glitch to a disaster that caused over a thousand lives and thousands more displaced all over the country. Shame on them.

  25. November 15, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    These people are pathological and depraved ….

  26. November 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm

  27. 72 Gazelle
    November 15, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    President Obama has nominated Debo Adegbile, senior counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, to take over as head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. The former head of that division, Thomas Perez, is now Secretary of the Department of Labor. While Adegbile served as an attorney for the Senate Judiciary, working primarily on crafting a new Voting Rights Act bill, he’s more popularly known as the lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund who argued on behalf of preserving the Voting Rights Act before the U.S. Supreme Court. Adegbile defended it twice before the high court, successfully helping to protect it when it was challenged in 2006, and again this past February before Chief Roberts’ court gutted the landmark civil rights bill. Adegbile also represented Hurricane Katrina evacuees in a federal voting rights lawsuit shortly after the storm.


  28. 86 Gazelle
    November 15, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    In the latest from filmmaker Frances Negrón-Muntaner, “Small City, Big Change” tells the story of the Latina/o activists who brought about the historic Transgender Equal Rights Bill in 2012. After a transgender woman was brutally attacked in the small town of Chelsea, Mass, the organization Mass Equality coordinated LGBTQ Latinos to organize social media campaigns, and speak directly with Chelsea representative Eugene O’Flaherty—who had opposed the bill for years. O’Flaherty was so moved by what he saw as the vulnerability of the LGBTQ community that he changed his position, and went on to champion and help pass the bill. The short film tells a powerful story of how grassroots activists can work with elected officials to bring about social and policy change. You can view the entire short film online.

    Video here too: http://colorlines.com/archives/2013/11/how_latino_activists_brought_transgender_rights_to_massachusetts.html

  29. 87 Linda
    November 15, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    40 Dems voted with GOP for the Upton bill.


  30. 92 yardarm756
    November 15, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    Obituary of the late Mr. Common Sense
    > Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend,
    > Common Sense,who has been with us for many years. No
    > one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth
    > records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.
    > He will be remembered as having cultivated such
    > valuable lessons as:
    > Knowing when to come in out of the rain; Why the
    > early bird gets the worm; Life isn’t always fair;
    > and Maybe it was my fault.
    > Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial
    > policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and
    > reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in
    > charge).
    > His health began to deteriorate rapidly when
    > well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were
    > set in place. Reports of a 6 -year-old boy charged
    > with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate;
    > teens suspended from school for using mouthwash
    > after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an
    > unruly student, only worsened his condition.
    > Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked
    > teachers for doing the job that they themselves had
    > failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.
    > It declined even further when schools were required
    > to get parental consent to administer Calpol, sun
    > lotion or a band-aid to a student; but could not
    > inform parents when a student became pregnant and
    > wanted to have an abortion.
    > Common Sense lost the will to live as the Ten
    > Commandments became contraband; churches became
    > businesses; and criminals received better treatment
    > than their victims.
    > Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend
    > yourself from a burglar in your own home and the
    > burglar could sue you for assault.
    > Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after
    > a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of
    > coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and
    > was promptly awarded a huge settlement. Common Sense
    > was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and
    > Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter,
    > Responsibility; and his sons, Accountability and
    > Reason.
    > He is survived by his 3 stepbrothers; I Know My
    > Rights, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I’m A Victim.
    > Not many attended his funeral because so few
    > realized he was gone. If you still remember him,
    > pass this on. If not, join the majority and do
    > nothing.

    • November 15, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      Desert, this is so sad and sick. It’s like watching a sick loved one suffer through all the stages of illness, knowing he’ll survive, even when the doctors lose hope. Because no matter what they try, the President will win.

  31. November 15, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    GA Chips, TOD. I will always have the most upmost admiration for Mayor Kaseem Reed, Gov. O’Malley, & Gov. Patrick who never wilted at any point in supporting President Obama, unlike the backstabbing snakes who provide “anonymous quotes” perpetuating false narratives, and then beg for OFA/PBO fundraising as a thank you.

    Something for a heads up on Monday:

  32. 99 Nena20409
    November 15, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    In 2010, Dems were provided with polling results about defending ACA, repealing the GW Bush Tax credits for the wealthy and there was one other issue. They had 7% better chances had they done what the pollsters were telling them and they decided to run to the hills. The result was devastatingly ugly.

    Dems Need to stay strong and stop their never ending intermittency.

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