By fighting for lower costs for consumers, improving coverage, and increasing transparency we will be one step closer toward creating a system of care that meets the needs of all Massachusetts residents.
Prioritizing Transparency, Equality, and Access in Healthcare
As a leader in healthcare, Senator O’Connor believes Massachusetts should provide the very best quality care for the greatest number of its residents possible. In 2017, this belief led him to advocate in favor of S.2202, An act furthering the Health empowerment and affordability by leveraging transformative healthcare, with the goal of fighting for lower costs for consumers, improved coverage and increased transparency.
In 2019, after hearing from a staff member about how cost transparency from his pharmacist, had saved his family hundreds of dollars on his son’s eczema prescription, Senator O’Connor wrote legislation to bring this type of savings to every family. An Act relative to pharmaceutical price transparency and cost sharing would prohibit “gag orders” put on pharmacists by drug provider organizations, allowing every pharmacist to provide customers with information about prescription drug prices and the clinical efficacy of lower-priced alternative drugs. Senator O’Connor also voted in favor of the Pharmaceutical Access, Cost and Transparency (PACT) Act to further lower prices.
Protecting consumers in healthcare is a major priority in Senator O'Connor's legislation and votes.
Improving Healthcare Access from Day One
Senator O’Connor is committed to passing legislation which focuses on the challenges around prenatal and maternal health in Massachusetts. In 2018, Senator O’Connor filed, An Act establishing a newborn health and safe sleep pilot program, which would create a program within the Department of Public Health to distribute safe-sleep receptacles, commonly known as “baby boxes”, to new parents and guardians free of charge. The bill sought to promote safe sleeping practices, as well as to bring new mothers into a closer relationship with their healthcare community, improving prenatal and postnatal care. He has also supported bills to study barriers to substance use treatment for women in the perinatal period, to address racial inequities in maternal healthcare in Massachusetts, and to increase options for safe, professional birthing care in the Commonwealth by licensing midwifery.
As Massachusetts fights the opioid crisis, Senator O’Connor has consistently stood in solidarity with those affected by substance abuse and in opposition to statutes which make illegal opioid circulation possible. In 2018, Senator O’Connor helped pass a bill increasing access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT), exploring tools to reduce harm and save lives, expanding education and prevention efforts, and addressing the high rates of co-occurring conditions of substance use disorder (SUD) and mental illness.
Seeing the ways that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed inequality and flaws in our existing healthcare system, Senator O’Connor has worked tirelessly with his fellow senators to pass several pieces of healthcare reform legislation, the most recent being the Patients First Act. The act increases access to telehealth service, ends the unfair practice of surprise billing, expands the healthcare workforce to enhance quality care, and analyzes the impact of COVID-19 on our healthcare system.
- Sponsor of An Act establishing a newborn health and safe sleep pilot program
- Sponsor of An Act relative to pharmaceutical price transparency and cost sharing
- Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Public Health
- Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery
- Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Children, Families and Persons with Disabilities
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