Governor Deval Patrick yesterday directly called out his opposition on the cost of health insurance premiums, going to Beacon Hill to testify in support of a cap on the rates that the health care industry would be allowed to charge annually. The Governor appears more willing to step out and engage, and is picking an issue that resonates with individuals and small business being choked to death by health insurance premium hikes that are unsustainable. There is obviously more to the pricing issue than the premium itself, and those issues will be played out in the legislature. But for now the Governor is swinging at Baker in an area where the political folks feel Baker may be vulnerable. The Baker team hit the Governor back quickly. From the Globe:
“The governor had 3 1/2 years to take action on health care costs, but he didn’t,’’ Alcivar said. “For 3 1/2 years, Deval Patrick had the existing authority to do something, anything to address this problem, and he wouldn’t. Today, hours after waking up to polling results that show his reelection prospects dwindling by the minute, Governor Patrick was forced to testify on a proposal aimed more toward salvaging his political career than helping small businesses.’’
Health care and the exorbitant rate increases on the front line again. And the double digit rate increases are not limited to Massachusetts, but are occurring nationwide. All healthcare, all the time.