SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

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December 30, 2013

A familiar face at chamber's helm

(Continued)

Health care has been a goal of Democrats.

“That’s been an effort since Harry Truman was president a long time ago, because as you know, we are the only — I believe it is true — we are the only advanced country that has not dealt with the problems of health care.”

A lot has been said about dealing with Obamacare, but what can the chamber do?

The major point from the standpoint of the North Shore Chamber relates to the fact that we have achieved the goals of Obamacare. In other words, right now we are at, it’s estimated, 97 percent of the residents of Massachusetts have health insurance. The system we presently have, which is about 6 years old and was put in place when Mitt Romney was governor, tracks many of the elements of Obamacare. The main effort of the chamber (over the past year and a half) has been to try to make sure that our system, the system that we have that is working pretty well, is not impacted negatively by Obamacare. ... Those issues, as you probably know, have led to a request for waivers of various aspects of Obamacare as it relates to Massachusetts, and that has been an ongoing effort in terms of the North Shore Chamber. And it’s going to continue to be an ongoing effort.”

You were talking at a recent North Shore Chamber breakfast about the change of constitutional leadership in the state. Tell me what this means.

“This is going to be an historic year for Massachusetts ... because we will be replacing the governor and the lieutenant governor, No. 1. We will also be replacing the attorney general, because Martha Coakley will give up that position in her race for governor. We will also be replacing the state treasurer, again because State Treasurer Steve Grossman is also running for governor. So, what you are looking at is ... the three main and most powerful constitutional offices being changed in the election in 2014. It’s critical — certainly, it’s critical from the standpoint of small businesses — that the candidates for those offices first of all be educated about the needs for small business, but it’s also important that the small-business community understand where these candidates are and what they stand for, and what the issues are that they are going to be concerned about.

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