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Vote ‘no’ on 1

Melvin B. Miller

Voters are usually attracted to the polls by the personality and campaign strategies of political candidates. But very often Americans are asked to pass judgment on faceless policy issues. Sometimes the economic consequences of these issues are too complex to be readily understood by those without a Ph.D. on the subject. Then it is best to rely on common sense. That is the situation with Question 1 on the ballot.

The objective of the proposal is to restrict the number of patients assigned to hospital nurses. Advertising and promotion by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, a union organization for nurses, have induced the public to believe that such restrictions are essential for patient safety.

The state Health Policy Commission has produced a new report that such restrictions would be exceedingly expensive and hospitals would likely be unable to comply. The report states that an additional 3,000 trained nurses would have to be hired. Hospitals that are unable to recruit an increased group of nurses would have to shut down non-complying medical units. The problem is not only the estimated $900 million cost, but also the availability of specially-trained nurses.

This proposal, if enacted, would ultimately shift the cost to patients and health insurance customers. While there are occasionally stories of inadequate hospital care, voters can remember that their friends and family who have been hospitalized in Boston have received extraordinary nursing care. It seems that the nurses union has stirred up a furor over a non-existent problem.

This proposal seems to be a union ploy to frighten the public into paying more for health care. The purpose of Question 1 is to enable nurses to get a bigger piece of the spiraling cost of health care.

VOTE NO ON QUESTION 1!!!

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