Charlie Baker for Governor. I can understand the appeal

Charlie Baker has filed to run for Governor. That’s no big surprise; in fact he’ll be a welcome entrant into the political scene. According to the Boston Globe (Baker depicts himself as turnaround specialist), Baker is following in former Republican Governor Mitt Romney’s footsteps:

Baker’s pitch was reminiscent of the tack taken by the last successful GOP candidate for governor, Mitt Romney, who emphasized his expertise in business and in turning around the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, as chief executive of the organizing committee. Romney even authored a book called “Turnaround.’’

The Boston Herald –and Baker himself– say that he’s following the mold of ex-GOP Governor William Weld.

Actually, there’s no reason Baker needs to pattern himself after anyone else. Sure, Romney made the argument that turning around the Winter Olympics was like turning around state government. (Turns out it just meant he’d be ready for the next exciting job as soon as he got bored.) But Baker’s role in turning around and continuing to successfully manage a non-profit health plan is an even better qualification.

After all, Massachusetts is basically a big healthcare state. The cost of healthcare is sky high, we have near universal coverage that we’re struggling to maintain, and biotech and healthcare providers are major employers. The state itself  is a big purchaser of healthcare and is responsible for administering a major healthcare bureaucracy.

At Harvard Pilgrim, Baker laments that there’s little he can do to influence provider behavior. Basically the hospitals and physicians just pay attention to Medicare –their biggest customer.

Maybe as Governor he’d have a bit more sway. Looking ahead, if he is elected, does well, and then moves on to seek higher office, I don’t think he’ll follow Romney’s path of disavowing his work in Massachusetts healthcare reform.

July 29, 2009

6 thoughts on “Charlie Baker for Governor. I can understand the appeal”

  1. exactly what we need in the corner office, an insurance company executive!

    Charlie Baker will do a great deal to protect the interests of insurance companies and make sure that they stay profitable for a long long time!

  2. You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about. Romney in media interviews, op-eds he’s written and in stump speeches around the country touts his health care plan.

    Why shouldn’t he? He’s the first governor in history to achieve almost universal insurance coverage for his citizens.

    Next time, do your research. Leave your politics aside.

  3. Not sure what you’re so worked up about Bill. Here are a couple of examples:

    Romney distances self from Mass. health plan (Boston Globe, 2/3/07)

    And from the WSJ (8/24/07): “But as the former governor of the liberal state aims to win the Republican presidential nomination with conservative votes, he is altering sharply his approach to the issue….On health-care reform, the bipartisan support Mr. Romney garnered in Massachusetts isn’t likely to help him with Republican primary voters the same way it might in a general election, where attracting independent voters is important.”

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