History of Accomplishments
Massachusetts Senior Action members are celebrating their 35th anniversary this year. Over the years MSAC has organized in communities throughout the state, building an ever-changing network of senior activists who bring about change and influence policies at the local, state and, at times, national level because they are well-informed, organized for mutual support and leadership, and vocal. Senior Action continues to be respected as one of the most dynamic, effective grassroots groups of organized lower income seniors in the country.
When we look back at some of the larger issues MSAC members have successfully fought for and won, the list is impressive:
- Medicare “Balanced Billing” Law: The statute, which withstood a U.S. Supreme Court challenge and served as a model for other states, has saved Massachusetts seniors hundreds of millions of dollars since 1986. Because of this bill, seniors and people with disabilities in Massachusetts may not be charged more than the Medicare-approved fee by their doctors.
- Hospital discharge reform: In the late 1980’s, Mass Senior Action led a successful coalition campaign that won model legislation requiring 24-hour notice and viable home care plans in place before patients could be sent home from hospitals.
- Prescription Advantage: Winning passage of the nation’s first state-subsidized prescription drug insurance program, which began in April 2001. Mass Senior Action’s advocacy ensured that the program was affordable for low-income seniors and people with disabilities.
- Home Care: MSAC was instrumental in the successful passage of the Equal Choice Act in 2006, which guaranteed Mass Health recipients a choice for the setting of their long-term care and developed a long-term care options counseling program to ensure individuals are informed of their community-based options. MSAC is still fighting for the full implementation of this legislation, after winning the broader launch of the counseling program in Spring, 2010.
- Drug pricing: Passing legislation in 2008 following No Gifts to Doctors, and Academic Detailing campaigns, which impacted drug pricing and reduced prescription costs not only for seniors but all people in Massachusetts.
- Affordable Housing Preservation: In November 2009, MSAC’s “Expiring Use” campaign culminated when Governor Patrick signed “An Act to Preserve Affordable Public Housing,” creating a process to maintain long-term affordability in private subsidized rental properties at risk of sale. The new law also created stronger tenant protections for current residents of these developments.
- Defeating Question 1: MSAC played a key role in educating and mobilizing seniors to oppose this Question, which would have abolished the MA income tax in Fall 2008. MSAC further provided invaluable resources to educate diverse communities by translating materials into 6 languages.
- RIDE Fare Equity: After the extreme and disproportionate fare increase of 2012, MSAC successfully convinced the MBTA to reduce RIDE paratransit fares by 25% and created a pilot program to implement an income-based fare structure.
- (1989) Passed Boston’s Senior Security Ordinance, a city-wide public safety ordinance governing all public and privately subsidized housing for seniors and people with disabilities, which we are still using in our current Boston housing campaigns.
- (2007) Kept security guards in place in Boston Housing Authority’s senior housing
- (2008) Preserved the affordability of Ocean Shores housing in Lynn for another 20 years.
- (2009) Lobbied for and built Senior Center in Malden, MA, with a grand opening in January 2009
- (2009) Saved the Saugus Senior Center from closing in Spring 2009
- (2009) BHA residents won more than $100,000 in retroactive funding, plus thousands of dollars in ongoing funding to support resident activities.
- (2010) BHA residents convinced BHA to revise and implement Fire & Safety Plans for all the elder housing developments, including training staff and residents.
- (2015) Improved security/community officer training and maintenance and increased tenant education in BHA senior housing.
- (2016) Created an fair parking policy for the Lynn Senior Center
- (2016) Prevented a service cut proposal to the PVTA's Senior Van Service.
- Registering hundreds of new senior voters and engaging hundreds more, including Russian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Haitian-Creole, Cape Verdean, and Spanish-speaking citizens, in several electoral cycles.