Governor Baker looks to work with Trump administration on health care

Baker previously opposed the GOP's health care bill in Congress

Charlie Baker
(AP Photo/Charles Krupa, File)

BOSTON (STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE) – Gov. Charlie Baker breathed a sigh of relief last week when the Republican plan to replace Obamacare collapsed and the Trump administration declared itself ready to move on from the legislative health care debate.

But more than just avoiding a potential loss of $2 billion in federal Medicaid funds, the failure of the GOP-led House to pass a new health care law could mean greater opportunity for Baker now to work with the Trump administration to secure targeted flexibility from some of the rules under the Affordable Care Act that the governor sees as drivers in health care spending at home.

“It certainly suggests that there may be an opportunity to continue to pursue other adjustments that would sort of be Massachusetts specific,” Baker told reporters Monday.

Baker opposed the GOP’s health care bill in Congress, which he said could undermine the state’s commitment to pursuing universal health coverage by putting states like Massachusetts on fixed Medicaid budgets.

However, the expansion of Medicaid under the ACA has led to a surge in the number of full-time workers who are opting for health coverage through MassHealth instead of getting insurance through their employers, according to the administration.

“I think one of the things we would probably pursue would be some effort to try to reengage the federal government around the original structure we had here in Massachusetts, which is if you had access to coverage through your employer you didn’t automatically qualify to be on MassHealth, which worked quite well here for seven or eight years,” Baker said.