Massachusetts Ballot Question 1

house on the corner

It can’t be only me. Many of us must have noticed “that house” in our neighborhoods. Maybe it’s a house on the corner.

The lawn is green, lush and always freshly mowed during the summer. They put out comfy hammocks on the front porch. Clay pots with just the right herbs and plants. Flags for the 4th of July. Pumpkins and colorful yellow and orange flowers for the fall. Seasonal wreaths on the door. Beautiful Christmas lights and decorations. You get the picture. It’s visual perfection. A feast for the eyes.

But then 2016 rolls around.

The house that has always brought about a smile, suddenly has a Trump sign out front. This is what happened to to me. Since I am not a supporter, my feelings about that “beautiful” house changed. Because I started thinking about the beliefs of the people inside.

This picture above is not the actual house in my neighborhood, because I didn’t think it would be fair to them. Ever since that sign went up, I started thinking of it as the Trump house on the corner. And now every sign that goes up on their lawn, I view with skepticism.

In Massachusetts, we have three ballot questions to vote on. Question 1 has been giving me trouble. If passed, it would limit the number of patients assigned to registered nurses in hospitals and other health care facilities.

The nurse staffing issue seemed pretty easy to me when I first heard about it. Of course there should be a limit. I would vote YES. But then I drove by the Trump house on the corner and there was a sign for YES on Question 1.

Huh? Not what I expected. Also, they had a Diehl Senate sign. He’s the Republican running against Elizabeth Warren. So they hadn’t suddenly become Democrats.

So if these people are also supporting Question 1, am I missing something? Maybe it wasn’t as simple as I thought? Could there be unintended consequences? I started to dig a bit deeper into the question.

From what I’ve read, there could be hospital closures and longer waiting times to be seen as a result. WBUR did a segment about the issue, but I still don’t feel good about the question either way. Some nurses support the initiative and others oppose it.

A Boston.com article says that both Senator Warren and Senator Markey support it. The Democrat running for Governor, Jay Gonzalez, supports it as well. Our current Republican Governor, Charlie Baker, appears to not be taking a stand at this point. Not a surprise.

My mom and I have spoken about Question 1 a few times as well. She is not sure either. I was planning to do early voting today, but this question is holding me back at the moment. What do you think?

Now I’m wondering more about the people living in the Trump house on the corner.

8 thoughts on “Massachusetts Ballot Question 1”

  1. While max staffing levels are a good idea, this bill is poorly written. California is the only state that mandates nursing levels. They implemented over 6 years. This bill is implemented in under 2 months. Studies show the California bill has had negligible impact on patient safety and length of hospital stays. So it’s had no impact on what it was designed to do. The MNA has backed this question. A union wants more RNs to be employed. That’s where they derive their strength. Ask yourself this – if you want the government more involved in your health care, ask veterans how well the VA is serving them? Also small hospitals whose life blood is Medicaid/Medicare will not be reimbursed at higher levels because of this bill. With more RNs and the threat of $25,000 fines, their options are cut other areas, find other ways to fund staff or operate in the red. The Boston Globe is backing NO on 1. When was the last time they sided against a union? Btw, my wife is an RN.

    • Don – Thank you for your insight. I’m leaning NO as well, because there seem to be too many issues and so much is at stake.

  2. No particular comment on 1 – I’ve heard good arguments for both sides and I haven’t made up my mind yet, either. But, as a Libertarian (and thus neither D nor R), I try to never judge people by the easy labels. If I did, I’d have almost no friends since most of my friends and acquaintances aren’t Libertarians 🙂 There were a lot of reasons for people to vote for Trump in 2016. I suspect many folks did so because of who he was running against. She was just about the only possible candidate the Dems could have put up there that Trump could have beaten (and so he did, at least by the electoral vote.) Anyway, just a caution not to fall into easily avoidable traps 🙂

  3. Jim – I hear where you’re coming from. But my issue with Trump supporters is that even if they might not be racist, they chose to support him despite his obvious racism, misogyny, etc. That has real world survival consequences for someone like me. I take those choices seriously and it’s hard to look past them.

  4. Trump and Yes on 1 signs are traditionally at odds unless you’re a nurse in the trenches. I’m a hard-working school teacher and I’m in solidarity with nurses. Administrators in both fields are more often than not out of touch with those in the trenches. I had already decided to vote Yes, but will admit that when I read the full details in the ballot question, I thought they seemed too rigid. I dwelled on that for a bit, but decided that nurses in the trenches are talented and educated folks and they have my support. About government regulation, I prefer it to corporate greed any day. The government’s attempt to help veterans is imperfect yet still better than private corporations running the system. Unleashed private medical insurance companies have made health care unavailable to too many, and for those who are fortunate to have coverage, it is limited and comes with too many out-of-pocket expenses, maximums, and pre-existing condition regulations. Our government’s ACA also is imperfect, but it too is better than the heartless private corporation systems and costs aforementioned. I’m open to either side of the aisle improving it, but I wouldn’t do away with it. I really do appreciate business and recognize that smaller businesses often get a bad deal because regulations hit them harder when their profits are nowhere near the level of larger businesses — different regulations should exist. I’m grateful for my union, and the hard-working nurses in my life. YES on 1. Thanks for asking!

    • Meg – You’ve made a good point about the different types of nurses — those in the trenches and the administrators. It makes sense that they would have different opinions and maybe this is a big reason for the division. I agree with you about a preference for government regulation over corporate greed too. My parents were both school teachers and being pro-union from an early age was a big part of my upbringing. Thanks for sharing your opinion!

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