Baker backs liquor vote issue, wary of dental insurance measure

Baker backs liquor vote issue, wary of dental insurance measure

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker peeked at his ballot on Thursday, revealing he’ll likely vote no on a dental insurance spending ballot and yes on a licensing reform measure of alcohol on November 8 – although he still hasn’t said who he will choose to succeed him in the corner office.

Baker made no objection when Boston Public Radio host GBH “Ask the Governor” Jim Braude said listeners already knew the Republican governor was voting no to Question 1 and Question 4, which respectively seek to impose a 4% surtax on personal income over $1 million a year and repeal a new law — enacted despite Baker’s veto — that would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for a Massachusetts driver’s license.

Issue 3 would increase the number of liquor licenses a single business could hold, allowing more stores to sell beer and wine, while gradually reducing the number of licenses specifically allowing the sale of all alcoholic beverages , including spirits. Baker said the proposal is similar to legislation his administration introduced a few years ago.

“This allows local communities to continue to have some authority over the number of licenses and how they are issued,” Baker said on GBH. “It’s also, I think, an attempt to create a middle ground between moms and pops and the big out-of-state chains.”

On Question 2, which would add new spending regulations for dental insurers, Baker’s likely “no” vote was accompanied by a stipulation that he would like the future governor to look into the matter.

The ballot issue would require companies to spend at least 83% of premiums on member dental costs and quality upgrades, instead of administrative costs. Proponents say it would implement a medical loss ratio system similar to that currently in place for medical insurers.

Baker, who was CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care before his first run for governor, said there were too many unanswered questions about the measure.

“Will this affect where I can go to get cover? Will this change what I pay for my cover? And will this change the relationship that currently exists between insurers and dentists that affects the price?” said Baker. “I can’t answer any of these questions. People have asked me about this question, and I don’t know the answers.”

The governor added that he would like to see the next administration convene a committee to study the mandatory premium percentage on dental care and then “come back and tell people what it really means.”

Although Baker gave an outline of how he will vote on the ballot issues, he again declined to comment on how he plans to vote in the race for governor.

When asked if he would vote for Democrat Maura Healey, Baker doubled down on his support for the Republican nominee to listener Anthony Amore. Amore is the only candidate for statewide office that Baker has openly supported.

“The reason I worked so hard to get Anthony Amore to be a state auditor is because Anthony Amore is the kind of Republican we should all support and vote for,” Baker said in response to Braude’s question about Healey. “I said I’m not going to get involved, I’m not going to do any endorsement in the other races. And saying who I’m going to vote for is an endorsement for all intents and purposes. So I’m not there. go.”

Although Baker has not endorsed any other candidates for constitutional office, he has been busy in local elections endorsing Republicans such as incumbent Tom Hodgson for Bristol County Sheriff and Shawn Dooley, who is trying to oust Senator Becca Rausch.

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