Local News
12:59 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Berwick Plays The Casino Card, Slams Baker

Donald Berwick is a candidate for governor of Massachusetts.
Donald Berwick
Credit Military Health, http://www.flickr.com/photos/militaryhealth/ / Flickr

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Donald Berwick took shots at his competition Tuesday, including presumptive Republican nominee Charlie Baker.

"Charlie Baker doesn't scare me — an insurance executive tied to a party that's really quite regressive in its platform," Berwick told Morning Edition Host Bob Seay.

Trumpeting his own progressive bonafides, Berwick also had harsh words for his Democratic rivals, Attorney General Martha Coakley and Treasurer Steve Grossman.

"I think my opponents, by comparison, are somewhat timid," he said. "They're not putting out goals like single-payer health care, and fighting the casinos, and working to end homelessness and hunger in this commonwealth."

While praising Massachusetts as the "first state to make health care a human right," Berwick advocated for single-payer health care system, which he said would make health care more continuous and more team oriented in addition to saving money, creating jobs and simplifying things for businesses.

"I'm the only candidate supporting a fundamental change in the way we pay for our health care — that is single-payer health care, Medicare for all at the state level," he said.

The candidate also reiterated his opposition to casinos.

"We'll get some revenue from casinos, but they'll cannibalize the lottery — they'll take money away from the lottery by a substantial amount — hundreds of millions of dollars," he said. "In addition, they'll add costs: All those DUIs, all those families bankrupted by gambling addiction, the mental health burden, the public safety issues that arise. States that study the net gain and net loss of casinos usually find there's a net loss, both to state revenue and to the local economy."

Berwick touted his executive experience building the nonprofit Institute for Healthcare Improvement and working as the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services from 2010 to 2011.

"I did run the largest agency in federal government by budget," he said.

Berwick said mixed-use development, mixed-income housing, innovation, a living wage, and big investments in education and transit would be highlights of his economic development plans.

"We need the world's best education system and a world-class transport system, and we have neither yet, but we could do that," he said.

Last month, Berwick placed third in the state Democratic Convention. The strong showing didn't come as a surprise, he said, citing a sense of momentum and his campaign's field operation.

"I feel really good about this summer, I think you'll see us really surge," he said.