A coalition of providers, consumers and other stakeholders has filed a petition to amend the Massachusetts Constitution to mandate universal healthcare coverage. The Committee for Healthcare for Massachusetts, a ballot initiative campaign committee, has collected some 71,000 signatures in support of the amendment, said the committee's co-chair, Barbara Roop. Once certified by the secretary of state, the petition would go to the state Legislature, which would be required to convene a constitutional convention by May 15. If 25% of legislators approve the petition, it would move to the next legislative session for a second round of approval. If approved there, the amendment would go on the ballot for a public vote in 2006. The proposal does not call for any specific insurance program but would require that a plan be developed to guarantee coverage for state residents. "This will be a long campaign of persuasion," Roop said. -- by Jeff Tieman
Mass. group seeks statewide healthcare coverage
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