Charlie Baker Joins Bipartisan Governors Slamming TrumpCare

He signed a letter urging Senators to ditch the House bill.

Photo via Governor’s Office

Calling a humane and affordable healthcare plan a “bipartisan responsibility,” Charlie Baker is among a group of seven Democrat and Republican governors calling on Senate leadership to ditch the TrumpCare bill that passed the House and start over with help from both sides of the aisle.

“We stand ready to work with you and your colleagues to develop a proposal that is fiscally sound and provides quality, affordable coverage for our most vulnerable citizens,” the letter reads.

Baker, a Republican, joined two other Republicans and four Democrats who signed the message to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. The leaders in their letter say the House bill “calls into question coverage for the vulnerable and fails to provide the necessary resources to ensure that no one is left out, while shifting significant costs to the states.” They argue against the House bill’s sweeping cuts to Medicare, calling them “particularly problematic.” Baker has told Congress previously that those cuts would cost Massachusetts more than $1 billion by 2020.

In section labeled  “guiding principals,” the leaders argue for a “competitive” marketplace for insurance in a system that controls costs and grants flexibility to states without “duplicative or burdensome regulations.”

  • Improve Affordability: Insurance reforms that increase access to quality, affordable health insurance coverage must be coupled with reforms that address rising health care costs across the health care system.  Insurance reforms should be done in a manner that is consistent with sound and sustainable cost control practices and must also include the following three guiding principles:

  • Restore Stability to Insurance Markets:  Americans without access to employer-sponsored coverage or government plans need to have access to a healthy, stable and competitive market of insurers from which to choose.

  • Provide State Flexibility and Encourage Innovation: As laboratories of democracy, states can develop innovative approaches that have the potential to strengthen health insurance for all Americans.  Within standards that protect the most vulnerable, states should have appropriate flexibility to implement reforms in a manner that is responsive to local and regional market conditions.

  • Improve the Regulatory Environment:  As the principal regulators of insurance, states are in the best position to promote competition within state insurance markets. Federal efforts should provide appropriate standards to protect consumers while limiting duplicative or burdensome regulations and providing relief to small business owners and individuals.

Also signing the letter were Republican Govs. John Kasich, of Ohio, and Brian Sandoval, of Nevada, as well as Democratic Govs. Tom Wolf, of Pennsylvania, Steve Bullock, of Montana, John Hickenlooper, of Colorado, and John Bel Edwards, of Louisiana.

The Senate is currently hashing out its version on a repeal of Obamacare, and have said they hope to pass something before a recess in July. But the process has been less than transparent, and what exactly is in that bill is still unclear. McConnell has kept a draft from colleagues outside the small group of Republican leaders creating it. There have been no public hearings or open sessions on the Senate bill, and there is concern in Washington that lawmakers may have too little time to discuss the bill before voting.

Signs have already emerged that TrumpCare as it stands is in trouble. Trump himself is reported to have said he is not satisfied with the language of the bill, calling in a closed door meeting for policy that is more “generous” and less “mean.

Baker is in Washington Friday, where he is expected to lobby on the health bill and will be taking part in a commission formed by Trump to tackle the opioid crisis.


Spencer Buell Staff Writer at Boston Magazine sbuell@bostonmagazine.com