Health Justice for Boston Number 2


Health Justice for Boston Number 2
February 2014
Number 2.
Health Justice for Boston
What is Healthcare Justice?
Access: Can you get the care you need?
Affordability: Will you go bankrupt if you do?
Quality: Will you survive your encounter?
Equality: Do you meet special barriers to care?
Community Meeting Set
Wednesday, February 19, 2014 ~ 7:00 PM
Massachusetts Jobs with Justice Boston Office
3353 Washington Street corner Green, Jamaica Plain
Short walk from Green Street T Station, Bus Route 42
For more information on campaigns to make
health care a right, not a commodity:
Healthcare NOW!
Labor Campaign for Single Payer
For help navigating the current system:
Boston Mayor’s HealthLine @ 617-534-5050
Health Care For All - Massachusetts
Consumer Health HelpLine @ 800-272-4232
Massachusetts Health Connector
Customer Support @ 877-623-6765
For more information:
Developments around BU Bioterror Lab
SEIU Local 888 Healthcare Committee
Status of Community Health Centers
Discussion on next steps forward
Defend Our Community Health Centers!
Culturally Competent Care Close to Home
The closing of Roxbury Comprehensive Community Health Center has
created a storm of controversy, when coupled with other cutbacks
affecting neighborhood health centers as well as programs such as WIC.
Martha Eliot clinic has terminated their adult patients. While WIC is still
offered there, the director is shared with Brookside Health Center and
there have been sequestration cutbacks that are placing a strain on the
remaining staff. Children's Hospital oversees Martha Eliot's pediatric
population, but this service may be terminated as well.
Although funds have been made available for RoxComp patients to go
elsewhere, chiefly Whittier Street clinic, this does very little for the poor
in the cachement area. People who used to take one bus or walk to
RoxComp, in the heart of the Black community, find it hard to go way
across town while sick, or for preventive services.
Reopen Rox Comp! We demand that Mayor Walsh and Health & Human
Services head Felix Arroyo act immediately to ensure that the building at
Townsend and Warren Streets, a modern, fully-equipped neighborhood
health center, not be sold to the highest bidder and turned into condos!
The building belongs to the community! The closing may have had to do
with mismanagement and unsafe practices, but the City should act to
restore patient care in this underserved area. - Quentin Davis
NB: We’ve changed the name of this newsletter from “Healthy Boston” so as not
to be confused with ex-Mayor Tom Menino’s project of the same name.
Boston Ad Hoc Committee for Healthcare Justice
Quentin Davis @ 617-364-5025 or [email protected]
Sandy Eaton @ 617-510-6496 or [email protected]
February 2014
Number 2.
BU Biolab: “Sloppy”
Following the five October 2001 deaths from anthrax from mail-delivered spores traced back to a US Army lab
in Fort Detrick, Maryland - the Bush Administration
responded with a massive influx of pump-priming
investment in the biotech industry leading to a
proliferation of proposals
for new Level-3 and Level-4
biolabs with the capacity for
weapons research. Boston
University was quick to
jump on this gravy train,
proposing its tract of land
on Albany Street between
the Exit 18 ramp to I-93 and
Boston Medical Center as
a site for one of these labs,
where the most deadly
germs on the planet could
be manipulated, germs such
as ebola for which there is no cure.
The Roxbury-South End community, led by Roxbury
Safety Net, has been organizing against this threat for a
dozen years, and a coalition to stop this lab has taken
shape made up of unions, peace, religious and civic
groups, and aided by esteemed scientists and an
outstanding environmental legal team. Most workers at
Boston Medical Center have expressed their dismay and
opposition to this risky project through their unions,
AFSCME, the Massachusetts Nurses Association and
SEIU-1199. This coalition has pushed through ordinances
barring such labs and such work in Cambridge,
Somerville, Watertown and Brookline.
Klare Allen from Roxbury Safety Net and I recently
attended the monthly meeting of the Boston Biosafety
Committee set up by the Boston Public Health
Commission. Its current main task is to review the safety
protocols proposed by BU, which by current regulation
need to be in place before work in the finished lab can
begin. In reviewing this example of BU’s work, several
committee members offered the adjective “sloppy” to
describe the document. We submit that “sloppy” is an
apt description for everything the folks at BU and at the
National Institutes for Health have done on this project
over all these years.
! SEIU Local 888 Tackles Health Care
After two years of dormancy, the SEIU Local 888 Healthcare
Committee reconvened. Six of us had a productive
conversation at the 888 Hall. Rand Wilson provided an
orienting recap of health care costs, health care insurance,
and the upcoming bargaining round. Pluses and minuses of
the Massachusetts and Federal health insurance marketplace
were summarized. The major plus is, of course, that so many
uninsured can now get insurance, although most people who
have to get insured as individuals aren’t getting very good
insurance for their money - co-pays and deductibles are
Rand noted that one of the blocks to relative labor
consensus on Obamacare is the fact that the law bans TaftHartley Health and Welfare Funds from shopping in the new
national insurance marketplace. The Teamsters, most of the
construction trades, and the hotel workers have Taft-Hartley
plans, and all of these unions are extremely upset about the
position they have been placed in. Perhaps the biggest
negative from workers’ point of view is that employers don’t
have to provide health insurance if employees work up to 28
hours. This, of course, incentivizes employers to increase the
portion of their employees who are part-time. Richard
Krushnic added that in the society-wide scheme of things,
the biggest negative is that Obamacare did nothing to
reduce administrative costs, which eat up 1/5 of each health
care dollar, and added that the only way to do that is to
adopt a single payer system like all other advanced societies
have. This would reduce administrative costs from 20% to
5% of health care costs.
Rand informed us that 87 888 contracts are up in June of
2014, covering 2,000 workers, nearly ¼ of 888 membership,
so there is no time to lose in educating membership about
the complex and confusing health care/health insurance
reality. Rand emphasized that we must keep clear 1)
preparing for bargaining, and 2) struggling over health care
policy/legislation, even though the two impact each other. Richard Krushnic
Throughout last year’s municipal election season, the
Stop the Biolab Coalition buttonholed Boston
candidates, securing pledges to oppose such work from
the incoming mayor and a solid majority of councillors.
City Councillor Charles Yancey has submitted a proposal
to ban Level-4 pathogens from the City.
We’ll spread the word far and wide as soon as a date is
set for the City Council hearing on this vital measure. Sandy Eaton

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