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In the News:
WBUR – September 8, 2021
The other tool the government created to prevent evictions during the pandemic was an expanded rental assistance program, which tenants in southeastern Massachusetts were far more likely to use than the federal eviction moratorium. The court will often dismiss an eviction if the government is willing to pay the landlord what they’re owed in full.
So far, landlords recouped at least $268 million during the pandemic from federally funded rental assistance programs in Massachusetts. But nearly three-quarters of the money allocated for the programs has yet to be spent because of lack of awareness or difficulty accessing the program, an issue playing out across the country.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” said John Keenan, a Massachusetts state senator who chairs the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Housing. “The money’s just not getting where it should go, and if it did, we wouldn’t have the increased number of evictions in some areas.”
Commonwealth Magazine – July 27, 2021
As the state is experiencing soaring home prices, Sen. John Keenan, a Quincy Democrat, asked Kennealy if there is any data on the impact of home buyer assistance programs – which are meant to increase the pool of buyers – in an environment where there is such limited inventory. Keenan questioned whether that would raise prices further, and suggested it might make sense to focus on housing production before homebuyer assistance.
Kennealy responded that the administration is mindful of that concern, but feels it is “really important to do both.” “Clearly, it’s a question of balance,” Kennealy said.
Quincy patriot ledger – july 9, 2021
State Sen. John Keenan, a Quincy Democrat, is calling for individual members of the Sackler family to face criminal charges for their role in the opioid epidemic.
“While the bankruptcy court settlement announced today is substantial, I believe that members of the Sackler family who directed and profited from the marketing of oxycontin should face federal criminal charges as well,” Keenan said in a statement.
Weymouth and Quincy are among more than 1,700 other communities across the country that collectively are suing 16 drug manufactures and distributors who officials say promoted opioids.
Quincy Patriot Ledger – July 1, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic revealed and amplified deep inequities in our health care system, and the Commonwealth, despite previous successes in expanding health care, was not immune. Massachusetts must pave the way in addressing extreme health care costs and their underlying causes. The More Affordable Care Act, currently before the Legislature, poses solutions to some of the greatest challenges in health care and should pass this session.
Conversations I have had with constituents through the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted important elements of challenges relative to coverage and cost: the unique struggles of small business owners, marginalized groups, and individuals in low-income living situations. Health care costs and related access issues that already posed problems only got worse during the pandemic.
CommonWealth Magazine – June 29, 2021
Consumer advocacy organization Health Care for All is pushing a proposal introduced by Rep. Christine Barber, a Somerville Democrat, and Sen. John Keenan, a Quincy Democrat, which would take steps to reduce out of pocket costs. Most significantly, it would require insurers to cover care without copays for seven chronic conditions that disproportionately affect low-income communities of color. They are: diabetes, asthma/COPD, hypertension, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, opioid use disorder, and bipolar disorder/schizophrenia.
Barber said these diseases were picked because of their prevalence in poor communities of color. She compared the bill to provisions in the Affordable Care Act that required preventive care to be covered without copays, to make it easier for people to obtain basic care that prevents expensive complications.