Incoming Democratic State Senator in Western Massachusetts Appears To Walk Back Commitment To Single-Payer Health Care

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Is Democratic state senator-elect Adam Gomez going to work to bring single-payer health care to Massachusetts?

He voiced concerns about that idea during an appearance on state Senator Eric Lesser’s (D-Longmeadow) Lunchtime Livestream on Friday afternoon. The hesitation came despite Gomez’s running as a supporter of implementing Medicare-for-All in Massachusetts.

Gomez, a member of the Springfield City Council, touted Medicare-For-All when he defeated incumbent state Senator James Welch in the Hampden District’s Democratic primary back in September. Gomez won the uncontested general election this past week and is set to take a seat in the Massachusetts Senate in January.

For his upcoming first term, Gomez hinted during the discussion Friday, November 6 that universal health care run by the government wouldn’t be one of his priorities.

“I know that there is a lot of conversation behind Medicare-for-All but for me in my first term as the Hampden District state senator, it comes down to the constituent services part of it,” Gomez said. “I’m gonna be in the building-making relationships following the leadership and seeing what’s the agenda. Obviously, myself filing different pieces of litigation cautiously, knowing that the budget isn’t gonna be the same budget or knowing that it won’t be the same budget for years to come, we actually have to be mindful to make sure we can at least have level funding across the board to make sure when it comes to our hospitals, you know Bay State Medical Center, really looks towards a lot of funding from the state to stay afloat when it comes to our Medicare and MassHealth to make sure that stuff stays in play.

“I know that the federal government has to play their part because we can do just so much with what we have and what we have coming in and I know that we really have to be looking towards what our different revenue boosters for the state let it be we talk about it but it’s not law yet, the Raise Up campaign, there’s different progressive ways of boosting revenue, generating wealth to close in these gaps,” he later added.

Raise Up Massachusetts, a left-of-center group Gomez mentioned, supports creating a millionaires’ tax in Massachusetts, raising the state income tax on dollars earned over $1 million from 5 percent to 9 percent. The group projects it would raise the state’s revenue by $2 billion annually.

As for state revenue, Gomez mentioned the marijuana industry as a potential source.

When running in the Democratic primary, Gomez critiqued his opponent for not being supportive enough of Medicare-for-All in Massachusetts during an August 17 forum with Mass VOTE.

Here is what Gomez said on the matter two and a half months ago:


I’m a longtime supporter of single-payer, and I would advocate for Massachusetts to enact Medicare-for-All within the state. I just learned my opponent just finally agreed to also support the bill only to walk back that commitment tonight, which is disappointing especially given that it’s a bill he kept buried as the chairman of the Healthcare Finance Committee. Our elected officials should be expected to serve the needs of their constituents always, not just when they feel the pressure of a primary challenger.

Springfield remains the asthma capital of the U.S., and I understand that the air is cleaner across the river, but that doesn’t mean that our state senator should be out of touch with the issues faced by our black and brown communities. Our state senator should also not be out of touch when it comes to our elderly and our veterans, specifically when it comes to the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, nor the mental health needs of our community after the closure of Providence Hospital.

To be honest, our district is tired of having to navigate pre-existing conditions, surprise medical billing, and choosing between paying for rising prescription costs and putting food on their table, and it’s time that we have leadership in Boston that will fight for single-payer health care, not to keep it stuck in the committee for years. Change can’t wait. Myself living the life with pre-existing conditions, I can relate wholeheartedly on how important it is to be insured and insuring everyone else and hearing these stories from my own community. Having to need another supplement insurance is unacceptable.


No state in America has single-payer health care. Vermont attempted to implement single-payer health care several years ago but was unsuccessful.

That plan, known as Green Mountain Care, would have required an 11.5 percent payroll tax on businesses and an increase in the state income tax to as high as 9.5 percent. State officials abandoned the idea in 2014.

The Democratic governor at the time, Peter Shumlin, said in September 2017 that he regretted his efforts to bring it about.

“The lesson was:  I was wrong,” Shumlin said, according to The Burlington Free Press. “I don’t think small states can go it alone, at least little states like Vermont, with an unstable federal partnership.”