Baker to the left of House — on several matters

Let this not go unnoticed:

House leaders unveiled a $40.3 billion state budget Monday that significantly tempered two controversial plans by Governor Charlie Baker to tackle the cost of health care. Lawmakers slashed his proposed fee on businesses to fund state medical costs, and they rejected a plan to cap the prices charged by hospitals.

… In their spending blueprint, House leaders also axed a plan by the governor to rein in health care spending by capping the prices charged by expensive hospitals. Speaker Robert A. DeLeo cast hospitals as crucial to the state’s economy and said they should not be subjected to new cost-control measures at a time when Congress continues to consider repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

“Hospitals as crucial to the state’s economy” — whereas every business and individual who pays health insurance premiums is chopped liver? Isn’t this a plain case of serving a special interest — one company in particular, Partners — literally at everyone else’s expense?

So on the uninsuring-employer fee (reminiscent of the 2005-6 ballot issue that led to Chapter 58, btw), Baker is to the left of DeLeo. On the hospitals, former insurance exec Baker was willing to gore a very powerful ox. He also proposed to tax Airbnb.

This is a very ironic position for those of us who have very progressive reps who nonetheless voted to maintain DeLeo as Speaker-for-Life. For all of our state’s considerable strengths and achievements, we have a continuing, growing problem of affordability and inequality. Every criticism I’ve made of Baker’s lack of long-term planning (e.g. the T) applies doubly to DeLeo. And he makes his membership look bad. It’s a Catch-22 for them: Vote him in, and ensure that nothing truly progressive/adaptive can happen; or vote against him and lose whatever chairmanships, power/influence one has coming.



3 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. “Hospitals as crucial to the state’s economy”

    That line makes me feel like chicken at the Tyson corporation. Is that all I am good for? Am I just cog in an economic machine called “health care” that drives the economy of this state? The sicker I get, the more health care I need and more is taken out of my paycheck each week to pay for that but according to Republicans and some daft Democrats, that’s just fine because “the economy!”.

    Kind of makes you yearn for a good old fashioned cholera epidemic throughout New England. Wouldn’t that be a boost for the economy of Massachusetts!

    To DeLeo and his ilk, health care is not a right, it’s a commodity that is for sale. Shame on them. As I wrote in the Globe Free market is no prescription for our health care woes

  2. Until someone loses a primary this stays the same

    Connolly beating Toomey was a good start-but we need a lot more races like that. Withholding cash and volunteer hours for the progressives that voted for him is another. Lastly, he’s gone by 2020 as Bernstein speculates so we should get a jumpstart on lobbying for a better choice down the road. And make restoring term limits an issue.

  3. Deleo serves at the pleasure of the House.

    The state of affairs suggests to me that there are not enough progressives to coalesce around an alternative candidate for Speaker, so they figure they might as well get on board. There needs to be broad rules reform – not just leadership term limits.

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Mon 24 Apr 11:19 AM