Massachusetts residents have now had two full years to evaluate the leadership of Gov. Charlie Baker, whose victory over Democrat Martha Coakley in the fall of 2014 restored what passes for balance in the Bay State — a moderate Republican governor working side-by-side with a Legislature just to the right of Vladimir Lenin.
In evaluating Baker, only one measure matters, and it isn’t the price of lobster or the fortunes of the New England Patriots.
Thanks to former Gov. Mitt Romney, what matters most for any Massachusetts governor in the early 21st century is how he or she handles the cost of health insurance.
By that measure, Charlie Baker simply isn’t a moderate Republican. He’s a Democrat.
Baker earns his “D” not because the cost of the MassHealth program is skyrocketing, to an estimated $16.2 billion, or about 40 percent of Baker’s proposed $40.5 billion budget, in fiscal 2018. It is unfair to hold Baker responsible for a decade of healthcare history in the United States and Massachusetts.
Rather, Baker earns the “D” — and should earn a “D” among Massachusetts’ perennially disappointed Republicans — because his approach to controlling costs is indistinguishable from that of Democrats.