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In an effort to help voters decide which candidate to select in the Nov. 6 election, WestfordCAT News is asking a question each week of those candidates who will represent Westford. Republican candidate for state Senate John MacDonald and Democratic candidate Edward J. Kennedy, both of Lowell, are vying for the First Middlesex District seat covering Groton, Dunstable, Lowell, Pepperell, Tyngsborough, and Westford.
QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What is your position on Question 1, a proposed law in Massachusetts that would limit patient to nurse ratios?
Patient care should always take priority over profits. During the Democratic Primary I indicated that I would be voting YES on Question #1. However, since that time the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission’s report, which was released in early October, has estimated that the measure may cost between $676 million and $949 million annually. Supporters of Question #1 dispute the report’s cost estimate and have indicated that the annual cost will be approximately $47 million. That is quite a disparity. Therefore, like many voters, I am hoping to get more information regarding the cost estimate before making a final decision.
JOHN MACDONALD of Lowell
First Middlesex District
I will be voting NO on Question 1.
I agree with the American Nurses Association, the Massachusetts Association of Colleges of Nursing and many other organizations in saying no to this question. I oppose government-mandated nurse staffing ratios in every Massachusetts hospital, overriding the judgement of nurses and restricting access to healthcare services.
If passed the new mandates would dramatically increase emergency room wait times and would pass along added costs to patients in the form of higher insurance costs and taxes. A yes vote would mean adding $1 billion annually in mandated costs, crippling community hospitals and forcing some to close.
NO on 1!
UPDATE – A response from Edward J. Kennedy was added on Oct. 25.