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Governor Baker criticizes Senate Republicans’ version of health care bill

Governor Charlie Baker has frequently broken with GOP members in Washington who want to undo the Affordable Care Act.File/Associated Press

The Senate’s new bill to reshape the US health care system would hurt Massachusetts, Governor Charlie Baker said Thursday.

The bill, which is similar to legislation that passed the House, would remove key aspects of President Obama’s signature health care law and cut billions of dollars in funding for Medicaid, the government program that provides health coverage to the poor, the elderly, and people with disabilities.

Medicaid, known in Massachusetts as MassHealth, covers about 1.9 million state residents.

Baker has argued that any national health care legislation should not shift Medicaid costs to the states and should allow them flexibility in how they provide coverage.

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“The administration is concerned that upon a first review, this version falls short and will result in significant funding losses for our state,” the governor’s spokeswoman, Lizzy Guyton, said in a statement. “Governor Baker will keep working with other governors, the Congressional delegation, and federal officials to advocate for solutions that work for Massachusetts, including protecting our waiver to support behavioral health and fighting the opioid epidemic and funding for Planned Parenthood.”

The Senate bill would cut funding for the women’s health care organization Planned Parenthood for one year. Baker has already promised to use state money to offset any cuts to Planned Parenthood.

A Republican in a liberal-leaning state, Baker has frequently broken with GOP members in Washington who want to undo the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. He has said he opposes any federal legislation that could threaten Massachusetts’ near-universal health coverage.

The Baker administration estimated that the House’s Obamacare replacement bill could cost Massachusetts as much as $2 billion a year in federal funding for Medicaid. The administration is still reviewing the Senate bill.


Priyanka Dayal McCluskey can be reached at priyanka.mccluskey@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @priyanka_dayal.

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