Healthcare

Martha Coakley will balance the world-class level of health care access and quality available in Massachusetts with affordability

Affordability
We must bring down the high costs of healthcare to reduce the burden on working families and businesses. We can do this by increasing transparency, an effort Martha has led as Attorney General, and by working to identify efficiencies in delivery, improving communication between providers, and supporting medical innovation.

Massachusetts has long been a national leader in providing high-quality, affordable health coverage to our citizens; the Commonwealth is home to some of the best hospitals in the world, and our companies are on the cutting edge of medical innovation. Our goal today must be to balance that world-class level of access and quality with affordability, and to recognize the importance of caring for those with behavioral health issues with the same commitment with which we care for those facing challenges to their physical health.

We must also reduce health disparities by improving access to community health centers and addressing the environmental challenges that often lead to higher rates of disease among low-income communities and communities of color.


Mental Health
We must increase access to high-quality care for those living with mental health and substance abuse issues because, for thousands of individuals and families in Massachusetts, behavioral healthcare is just as important as physical healthcare.
As a result of my brother’s struggle, I have come to understand the challenges people face. -Martha  

Martha understands the importance of this issue because she’s lived it. Her brother Edward, who began to show signs of depression at an early age, took his own life at the age of 33. Martha believes that expanding access to behavioral health care is crucial, as is reducing the stigma of mental illness. Nobody who needs behavioral health care should go untreated because they don’t have access to the care they need or because of the stigma around mental illness and substance abuse.

Even more disturbing, over 37,000 children experience a major depressive episode each year, and nearly 60% of them go untreated. Like Edward, many young people fear the stigma of mental illness, so they don’t ask for help, their peers (who are often the first to notice signs) don’t say anything, and ultimately their illness goes untreated. We need to work with students, teachers, and administrators to empower young people to speak up and get help without fear of stigmatization.

Edward

Read Martha's full policy paper, Caring For All: A Plan to Improve Behavioral Health Care for Everyone in Massachusetts.

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Photo Credit: 2014 Martha Coakley