- Associated Press - Monday, September 1, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - Improving the well-being of the state’s health care system could be a difficult prescription to fill for the next governor, given Massachusetts’ rocky effort to merge its 2006 health care law and President Barack Obama’s 2010 federal law. That’s not the only health care challenge the Democratic and Republican candidates are weighing ahead of the Sept. 9 primary:



The Republican and former Harvard Pilgrim Health Care CEO said Massachusetts had a health care system that offered nearly every resident access to high quality care. He said if elected governor, he would fight for a waiver from the federal health law to help protect the state system.

Baker has proposed an initiative he said would improve the quality of health care and reduce cost. One proposal would require health care providers to make their average prices for commonly provided services available to the public.

“My proposals will allow patients to act as informed consumers, prioritize primary care - giving patients with multiple illnesses better treatment - and protect Massachusetts’ health system from federal burdens,” Baker said.



The Democrat and former head of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is the only candidate advocating a single payer system that would guarantee health care for every resident.

Berwick said single payer health care, which he described as “Medicare for all,” is also the best step the state can take to create jobs. He said it would save money by decoupling health care from employment.

“The result will be a simpler, more transparent, publicly accountable care system that improves the quality of care and returns resources to businesses, workers, and state and local governments,” Berwick said.



The Democrat and attorney general said if elected governor she would push to improve mental and behavioral health services in Massachusetts.

Coakley, who lost her brother to suicide after a struggle with mental health, said she would work to increase reimbursement rates for mental health care.

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