Gov. Charlie Baker spoke at the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to discuss ways to stabilize health insurance markets​ on Sept. 7.

Credit: Jose Luis Magana/AP

4 Thoughts On Gov. Charlie Baker’s Washington Health Care Testimony

September 8, 2017
  1. It was vintage Charlie. Just as the late Boston Mayor Tom Menino was the self-styled urban mechanic, so is Baker the town manager of Massachusetts. Baker is too shrewd to call himself that. But his Capitol Hill performance was fact-based and leavened with the sort analysis that only the delusional would dispute.
  2. Despite the cameras, Baker was playing an inside game. Believe the Governor when he says he has no national aspirations. A politician aiming to shimmy up the greasy poll of presidential politics might have returned to Beacon Hill to find a few national reported headlined: “A Kasich-Weld Team Could Bring Trump Down.” His exchanges with Massachusetts’ senior senator, Democrat Elizabeth Warren, suggested two people who have spent time talking through the issues and reaching fundamental agreement. No doubt he’s been lobbying his own party vigorously. He knows the Democratic-controlled legislature is watching him, and he was at the top of his game.
  3. Baker’s appearance will be good for his re-election effort. He’s yet to formally announce, but that’s considered a technicality because he’s raising money. It’s not that his performance will resonate through the weeks and months. Hardly. What matters is that the news footage exists. This is the stuff of several very strong television and online commercials that will show Baker fighting for Massachusetts in the face opposition from the national GOP. Add endorsements from renegade Republicans such as Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and you’ll see why independent voters and some Democrats will stay with Baker.
  4. With luck, Baker and all the others trying to keep the ACA alive might be able to avert disaster, but they can’t avoid pain. Within the next two years, the odds are that the working poor and the unemployed will be disproportionately hit by health care belt tightening. And that’s the best-case scenario. Massachusetts just doesn’t have the resources to fill all the gaps that will emerge as Washington rolls back coverage. The fact that the most recent report suggests that revenue from taxes is once again softening has Beacon Hill realists worrying.

To hear more about Baker's testimony before Congress, click on the audio player above.

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