Sahl: Exclude certain hospitals since they’re expensive?
Gab: Use community health centers and hospitals.
[No discussion of bulk-purchasing of drugs. Tough one, and needs to be done.]
Question on education from Keough(?)
Reilly: Improve public higher ed.
Q: More money, or more accountability?
Reilly: Need both. GOP govs have failed: less funding, higher fees. Lot of money for regular folks.
[Reilly again acts as champion of middle class. That’s his riff, and it’s a good one.]
Patrick: Invest in future, invest in ed. Do a bond bill for stem cells, invest that $ in public higher ed.
Gab: Disagree with DP — shouldn’t narrow stem cell $ to public u’s. Need invigoration of science at high school level; a Bronx Science in MA.
[Reilly and Gab have more distinctive answers to this question than Deval.]
Alison King: MCAS — isn’t it helping?
Patrick: Can’t educate whole child teaching to MCAS. Mason School in Roxbury — small classes; MCAS scores are good, but has receded in importance. That’s the model.
King: If 96% pass MCAS, shouldn’t it be tougher?
Patrick: MCAS is not silver bullet. Educate whole child. Yes, raise bar, but that’s not enough.
Reilly: I almost dropped out of school. Lot of kids need extra help — after school, summer school, etc. Every child is important.
Gab: Passing MCAS is 8th grade level — not enough. Need to be proficient/advanced. Don’t up the bar now.
[DP and Gab come off best here: Seem more specific.]
Q: $295 assessment for uninsuring employers enough?
Gab: Numbers don’t add up for health care bill. Skeptical that someone making $25k-40k will be able to afford insurance. I would be willing to raise that #.
Reilly: We’ve got to make law work within confines. Harvard Pilgrim. Experience counts.
Patrick: Share some of CG’s concerns if some small businesses stop providing health care. Got to work through it.
[We knew we’d hear about Harvard Pilgrim from Reilly — it’s a strong point for him, but Gab wins this question: strongest, clearest answer.]
Q: Nursing shortage?
Reilly: Don’t want lege mandating staffing levels. Encourage education.
Q: What’s state’s role?
Reilly: Quality control, performance standards.
Patrick: Very skeptical of mandated nurse ratios. Doesn’t lend itself to legislation — should be done by hospital managers. Measures of quality should be same between hospitals/settings.
Gab: Ratios do correlate to outcomes. Lower ratios are objectively better. It’s a good compromise: ceilings and targets.
[Again, Gab is clearest.]
Q: Charter schools? Don’t you actually oppose them?
Patrick: Charters should be labs for innovation, and be accountable for that innovation. Shouldn’t drain regular schools to fund charter schools.
Q: Charter schools popular in Boston — lift cap?
Patrick: No. Pilot schools have been terrific.
Reilly: Parents deserve choice. I support charter schools. Should consider lifting cap in Boston.
Gab: Tom’s right. 80% of charter schools have longer days. Innovation for regular schools is really hard work — gov needs to drive that.
A. King to Gab: Universal early childhood ed is effective. So is after school. If you could do one, which one?
Gab: False choice. Find districts to work on, pick some that could do innovation, and do both. Focus on districts where kids do poorest, and where promise is greatest. Only things that could do work. Must do both. Not everyone wants these.
Patrick: CG is right — there’s not universal acceptance. It’s a part of my plan. We should phase these in.
Reilly: Put $ where there’s most benefit. Agree with DP and CG.
[That’s Gab’s issue … but didn’t really answer the question.]
Q: Drug reimportation vs. biotech industry?
Reilly: Tough choices. Must consider middle class folks and seniors. Can’t subsidize Canada when folks are hurtin here. Strongly support reimportation. Prioritize jes’ folks over biotechs.
Patrick: Agree with Tom, but it’s a Band-Aid. Work with biotechs — free drugs for folks who need it.
Gabrieli: Agree with reimportation — been in that industry. It’s a political gimmick. Tom’s right we pay too much.
[Tom did a great job with this — makes a strong choice.]
Q: Health care costs — how lower?
Patrick: Uniform codes for reimbursement, admin costs. Talks about his grandmother and terrible admin problems with health care.
Q: Too much for two years — what else?
Patrick: Must steward surplus in budget.
Reilly: Anecdote of neighbor with kid’s baseball injury.
Gab: Need 5-year projections for budget. Numbers of health care plan don’t add up. Not honest to put burden on working poor.
[Draw. It occurs to me that Patrick needs to use more strong, active verbs — Gab’s pretty good at this.]
—-END FIRST PART—-
RD Sahl: Tell us why the other guys aren’t as good as you.
Reilly: Experience. I have a vision and proven record.
Sahl (interrupting): No — tell us about them.
Patrick: No one else has my range of experience working with different
Gab: I’m going to aim at Romney/Healey.
Sahl: Position where your opponent is wrong?
Patrick: Tax rollback. We can’t afford all these promises and do this.
Gabrieli: Need to tell voters exactly how to get to 5.0%.
Reilly: If we don’t do it now, we’ll never do it.
Gab: Where are the $500 million?
Patrick: We need economic growth, through investing in ourselves, with good infrastructure and schools leading to econ growth.
[Gab has STILL not told voters exactly how they’d do it! But he’s right: Where’s the $500 million? Where’s the beef?]
Sahl: Gay marriage? Should lege vote on amendment?
Patrick: Doesn’t threaten my marriage at all. Let’s move on.
Reilly: Yes, they should vote, but I’d vote against it if I were in the lege.
Gabrieli: I would encourage people to vote against it.
Patrick: Reilly shouldn’t have certified ballot.
Reilly: I followed law in certifying ballot.
Sahl: Repeal 1913 law?
Gabrieli: It’s a Republican wedge issue and a distraction.
[These guys don’t want to talk about this, except to bash Romney/Healey.]
Sahl: Favor restrictions to access to abortion based on term?
Gab: Pro-choice — no, it won’t be an issue.
Reilly: Pro-choice, too; hope we don’t go back.
Patrick: Status quo’s good.
[It’s a wash.]
Sahl: Ever hired an undocumented worker?
All: Don’t think so. [??]
Gab: Can’t let state contractors get away with hiring illegals.
Patrick: Same. Cooperate with federal authorities.
Reilly: Favor McCain/Kennedy. National solution.
[Gab’s got strongest answer.]
Reilly: Almost dropped out of high school. Worked through school, lived up to my potential.
[Reminds me of Tom Birmingham’s stump speech — salt-of-the-earth … but too fast and doesn’t sink in.]
Patrick: It Takes a Village! Came here at age 14 — education transformed my life. People believed in me.
Gabrieli: Romney/Healey not gotten job done. Track record of results. Move beyond rhetoric. Create jobs. Accountable.
[Boilerplate from all three.]