Baker no fan of hospital ballot question
Says he would like pricing issue handled on Beacon Hill
GOV. CHARLIE BAKER indicated on Monday that he opposes the union-backed ballot question resetting hospital rates, saying he hopes that measure could be dealt with outside the voting booth.
After a meeting with House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, Baker said the three officials have had some discussions about the ballot questions dealing with charter schools and hospital rate-setting. He said the hospital rate ballot question is complicated, involving a lot of data that is not well organized. He said it was possible something could be done to keep it off the ballot, but added that time was running short.Asked directly where he stands on the ballot question, Baker paused briefly, thinking, and then said: “That’s one I would rather see us figure out how to do something with administratively or legislatively as opposed to doing something on the ballot.”
The ballot question is being pushed by the Service Employees International Union as a way to help address a pricing gap between what teaching hospitals are paid for their services and what other hospitals receive. The question would scale back commercial insurance payments to the state’s two leading teaching hospitals — Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s – and redistribute some of that money to other hospitals around the state. Union officials estimate the ballot question could cost the two teaching hospitals nearly $440 million.