Charlie Baker relieved at failure of GOP health care bill

Boston, MA - 2/21/2017   - Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker speaks during a news conference to announce the state's criminal justice system's review findings at the Massachusetts State House in Boston, MA, February 21, 2017.  (Keith Bedford/Globe Staff)
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker. –Keith Bedford / The Boston Globe, File

BOSTON (AP) — Republican Gov. Charlie Baker in joining with the state’s all-Democratic congressional delegation in expressing relief at the failure of the U.S. House to pass a GOP bill aimed at undoing former President Barack Obama’s health care law.

The Republican governor said Friday the bill doesn’t reflect the needs of states.

‘‘Massachusetts leads the nation in access to quality health care and I am pleased today’s vote has been held as this bill would drastically affect the commonwealth’s ability to ensure essential care for thousands of people,’’ Baker said in a written statement.

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Baker said he remains focused on working with federal officials and other governors to protect Medicaid funding and maintain the flexibility the state needs on health care issues.

Baker said earlier this week that the bill would have cost Massachusetts at least $1.5 billion in annual federal payments within five years.

By 2022, the state could have lost up to $475 million in additional federal revenue if the Trump administration scrapped a Medicaid waiver that Baker signed with the Obama administration last year, the governor warned.

The state currently receives about $10.5 billion in annual federal Medicaid payments, a little more than half of the state’s total $19 billion in Medicaid spending.

The state’s U.S. House delegation was uniformly opposed to the bill.

‘‘Hardworking Americans voiced their outrage about the Republicans’ devastating cuts to health care coverage — and it worked,’’ U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark said in a statement.

U.S. Rep. Joe Kennedy said the defeat was a ‘‘a fierce reminder of the remarkable power we have to hold our government accountable’’ while U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch said he and others ‘‘heard loud and clear from the families we represent that Trumpcare would put their access to health care at risk.’’

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There were few elected officials in Massachusetts who had supported the Republican health care bill.

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, said that while the defeat of the bill is ‘‘a great day for the people of Massachusetts and people across the country,’’ supporters of Obama’s 2010 law have a long road ahead.

‘‘I’m not doing a touchdown dance today.’’ Warren said in a series of tweets. ‘‘Not when the GOP is still hell-bent on rigging the system for the rich & powerful.’’