Matias Unveils ‘Deeply Personal’ Healthcare Policy Ahead of Primary Election

Former state Rep. Juana Matias is scheduled to address attendees to the annual Business Awards Breakfast.

Rep. Juana Matias appears on WHAV’s Open Mic Show. (WHAV News photograph)

In the run-up to September’s congressional primary to determine the 3rd District successor of Niki Tsongas, state Rep. Juana Matias is making healthcare a major priority.

Unveiling her healthcare policy this week, the Lawrence-based candidate is sharing what she calls a “deeply personal” proposal that addresses the cost of prescription drugs, asks for full funding of Planned Parenthood and a showcases a plan to protect and strengthen the Affordable Care Act.

The plan has special meaning for Matias, who cared for her father Arcenio during his battle with pancreatic cancer. As a direct result of her father’s MassHealth benefits, Matias said her family was able to extend his life for several months.

While MassHealth helped the Matias family secure quality care, much more needs to be done, says the candidate.

“Even with MassHealth though, I spent countless hours on the phone fighting to ensure that he would keep his coverage so he could continue the treatment he needed,” said the Beacon Hill lawmaker.

“No family should have to choose between essential health care and putting food on the table. Yet for too many people, a catastrophic illness comes with costs they cannot afford and the threat of losing their access to healthcare,” she said. “Healthcare is a basic human right, and it is simply unacceptable that in the wealthiest nation in the world, a person’s economic status determines whether or not they can access lifesaving care.”

Haverhill native Matias has drawn local support in her quest to succeed Tsongas. Among those supporters is former city mayor James Rurak, who praised Matias as a “true public servant.”

She faces democratic opposition in September’s primary from candidates including Sen. Barbara L’Italien, Dan Koh and Rufus Gifford, among others.