Universal Access to Health Care Coverage for Massachusetts is Based on
the Original Constitutional Language of John Adams
Amending the Massachusetts State Constitution to ensure universal access
to health care coverage extends the principles established in 1779 by
In his biography of John Adams, Pulitzer Prize-winner David McCullough
describes the writing of the original Massachusetts Constitution. Drawing
on the models already completed by the other newly constituted states,
proposed a bicameral government with an elected governor and an independent
appointed judiciary that continues to serve us.
But Adams went further by adding broader responsibilities for the states
government in Section II, Chapter 6. The original language states:
. it shall be the duty of legislators and magistrates in
all future periods of this commonwealth to cherish the interests of
literature and the sciences and all seminaries of them, public schools,
and grammar schools in the towns;
and to countenance and inculcate
the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private
charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in their dealings,
sincerity and good humor, and all social affections, and generous sentiments
among the people.
With this language, McCullough states that
Adams was declaring
it the duty of government not only to provide education but
the cherish the interests of literature and science
and the language was ratified by the delegates to the constitutional convention
Adams understood that an informed and literate public is a necessary
condition for a vibrant democracy and he wrote a uniquely Massachusetts
expression of the social contract into the constitution, namely that it
was the government, its legislators and judges, that were responsible
for being certain that no resident lacked access to education. Public
education, the bedrock foundation of our government, was the result of
a conscious and deliberate decision by Adams and his peers.
The language of this amendment for affordable health insurance is modeled
after the language of Adams. When ratified by a majority vote in November,
2006, our elected representatives which form the government of the Commonwealth,
will be responsible for ensuring that no resident of the state lacks access
to health care because of economic, social, ethnic or political status.
Just as John Adams language ultimately forced massive education
reforms in the 1990s so too will this amendment force reforms to
ensure universal coverage and access to health care for everyone in Massachusetts.
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