Massachusetts Healthcare Council Initiative, Question 5 (2000)

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The Massachusetts Healthcare Council Initiative, also known as Question 4 was on the November 7, 2000 election ballot in Massachusetts as an initiated state statute. It was defeated.

The initiative proposed the creation of a state Healthcare Council to review and recommend legislation for a health care system that ensures comprehensive, high quality health care coverage for all Massachusetts residents. Until the Council decided that such a system had been set-up, the proposed law would have prohibited the conversion of non-profit hospitals, health maintenance organizations (HMOs), and health insurance firms to for-profit status. The proposed law would have required health insurance carries to provide certain rights to patients and health care professionals.

Election results

Question 5 (Healthcare Council)
Defeatedd No1,325,91548.50%
Yes 1,229,652 44.98%

Official results via: The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth

Text of measure

Ballot question

The question on the ballot was:

Do you approve of a law summarized below, on which no vote was taken by the Senate or the House of Representatives before May 3, 2000?[1][2]


The official ballot summary is available here.

Full text

The full text of the legislation proposed by Question 5 is available here.

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The initiative was supported by Vote for Health. They argued that health care in Massachusetts was facing a crisis, with out of control costs and too many citizens uninsured or at risk of losing their coverage. They claimed the proposed law would accomplish three goals:

  1. It would guarantee that by July 2002, no Massachusetts resident could be denied medical care because of lack of adequate insurance.
  2. It would put in place an improved Patients' Bill of Rights to protect patients from HMO excesses and make sure that needed medical services cannot be withheld.
  3. It would prevent for-profit companies from taking over the state's non-profit health care institutions.


The initiative was opposed by the No on 5 Coalition. They argued that the proposed law was "poorly written, costly and damaging" and that it was strongly opposed by a coalition of Massachusetts health care experts, academics, small and large employers, taxpayer groups, civic leaders and health care providers. They also argued that it would undo the patients' rights and health care reform law that was approved in July 2000.

The coalition also cited independent studies from researches at Brandels University, Harvard School of Public Health and other health care experts which showed that the measure would:

  1. Eliminate existing protections designed to ensure the quality of health care.
  2. Create two new government bureaucracies with no limit on their spending.
  3. Significantly increase health insurance rates for consumers and employers.
  4. Potentially cost Massachusetts taxpayers billions of dollars each year.

See also

External links

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