Dukakis on Health Care Reform

By Bob Seay

June 29, 2012

BOSTON — During his two terms as Massachusetts governor, Michael Dukakis had health care reform on his agenda. In fact, in 1988 Dukakis signed into law a health care act that would have forced businesses that didn’t offer their employees health insurance to contribute to a fund to provide such insurance — but Dukakis said his successor William Weld did what he could to stymie the effort.
I sat down with the former governor and presidential candidate at Northeastern University, where he is now distinguished professor of political science. I spoke with him soon after the Supreme Court decision was released — a decision that somewhat vexed Dukakis

Excerpts from the interview

"Well, I'm pleased that the basic core piece of it was upheld. On the other hand, I must say I'm confused about the decision on Medicaid. Congress has regularly required the states to expand Medicaid coverage as a condition for receiving that money ... So what you're going to end up with, I guess, is a kind of pitched battle in conservative legislatures over whether or not they're going to agree to make it possible for working people and their families — up to 133 percent of poverty, which isn't a lot of money — to get decent, affordable health care. And in point of fact that's the whole issue anyway, which I'm sorry to say my party hasn't done a very good job of explaining. This is all about working folks and their families because the overwhelming majority of uninsured people in this country, and it's about 60 million, are working or members of working families ...

"We're finally going to, I hope, move ahead with decent, affordable health care, especially for working families in this country — unless of course Mitt Romney, who's done his 125th 180, in this case on health care — gets elected! If he does, then forget it."

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