When Charlie Baker began his run for Governor of Massachusetts, the Boston Globe critiqued his record and found it wanting (State aided Baker’s business triumph), a piece that struck me as weakly argued and unfair (Why is the Globe picking on Charlie Baker?). To the Globe‘s credit, they published an excerpt of my post in their VoxOp column.
Saturday’s Globe carried a piece that was similar in tone (Baker finds campaign trove in health field) arguing that Baker is sucking big bucks out of the health care sector to fund his election campaign and implying that there is something wrong about it. After describing how some Democrats are giving to Baker (a Republican), the article says:
It’s one of many examples of how Baker, in his torrid fund-raising drive, has mined with extraordinary efficiency the health care industry he left last July to become a candidate.
A Boston Globe analysis of contributor reports shows that in seven months Baker’s campaign raised more than $122,000 in contributions tied directly to Harvard Pilgrim. This includes not only $43,000 in contributions from Harvard Pilgrim’s employees, directors, and affiliated companies, but also a broad array of vendors: its accountants, auditing firm, advertising agency, information technology providers, and consultants.
In total, Baker has raised at least $263,000 from employees of health-care providers, other insurers, and related businesses in the health-care sector. That’s about 10 percent of the $2.57 million he has raised overall.
A bit of perspective is warranted here. First, $263,000 is not a lot of money in the context of the governor’s campaign. Second, if anything Baker should be getting a lot more than 10 percent of funding from the health care industry. Health care is 16 percent of GDP and one of the leading industries in Massachusetts. Considering Baker is so closely tied to health care I would have guessed the percentage would be more like 20 or 25 percent.
The Globe could just have easily gone the other way, using the same analysis to ask why the health care industry is not backing Baker.February 8, 2010