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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

"What state aid?"

Deval Patrick is trying to dance on the head of a pin in trying to take the glow off Charlie Baker's turnaround of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. And vanquished foe Tom Reilly is helping to shove him off.

Patrick would not find himself in hot water this morning if he had uttered the words "Wall Street bailout" instead of "state aid" in Tuesday night's televised debate. OK, maybe tepid water.

Harvard Pilgrim apparently received an $80.9 million tax-free bond through the Massachusetts Health and Educational Facilities Authority -- a quasi-public agency that, ironically, Patrick abolished this year and merged into MassDevelopment.

The authority then created a nonprofit entity to buy Harvard Pilgrim's Kenmore Square property and lease it back.

All of that was on top of state receivership under then-Attorney General Reilly.

That prompted this retort from Reilly, the receiver who supervised the turnaround.
“Charlie Baker never asked for a dime of state money, and there was no state aid as part of the turnaround.’’
The Patrick camp attempted a semantic revision yesterday that would have been far more effective had the words come out of the candidate's mouth the night before:
“Charlie Baker figured out how to get a government supported bailout before even the guys on Wall Street figured out how to get their bailout from the federal government.’’
But as Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation President Mike Widmer notes, words count:
" ...Yes, there was a state role, but not state aid. And that is, I think, an important distinction.’’
Who would have thought Patrick would be the one to have his mouth betray him in a debate?

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Blogger Doodle Bean said...

Why would Patrick say anything like "Wall Street Bailout"?

Helping a not-for-profit healthcare insurer survive with a loan is so far from bailing out for-profit bankers that the comparision would be absurd!

September 09, 2010 11:11 AM  

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