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December 31, 2012

Warren win tops list of year's biggest political stories

(Continued)

6) CAHILL GOES TO TRIAL, WALKS FREE

For former Treasurer Tim Cahill, a large part of 2012 meant reliving his drama-filled, ill-fated quest to become governor in 2010. Indicted by Attorney General Martha Coakley on charges that he conspired with campaign aides to spend taxpayer dollars to fund ads promoting the Lottery to boost his flailing campaign, Cahill, of Quincy, went to trial in Suffolk Superior Court, where he was forced to relive the beating he took at the hands of the Republican Governors Association who attacked his management of the Lottery. Cahill contended that he decided to run the ads late in the campaign out a responsibility to the people of Massachusetts who depend on revenue from the Lottery to fund schools and municipal budgets. It worked. After acquitting his former campaign manager Scott Campbell, a jury deadlocked on the charges against Cahill, unable to reach a consensus verdict and causing a hung jury and mistrial. While Coakley has yet to decide whether she will retry the case, Cahill declared himself vindicated and is an innocent man for now.

5) PATRICK AND LEGISLATURE TRY TO “CRACK THE CODE” ON HEALTH CARE COSTS

While many bills became law in 2012, none garnered quite the amount of attention as Gov. Deval Patrick’s push to reform the health care system and change the way patients and insurers pay for medical care. Six years after Gov. Mitt Romney signed a law forcing residents of Massachusetts to purchase health insurance and successfully expanding coverage to over 98 percent of adults and nearly 100 percent of children, the long-awaited follow-up to address rising costs in health care consumed almost two years of attention. By setting caps on cost growth and encouraging doctors and insurers to move to a system of paying for health outcomes rather than the number of services they provide, lawmakers are hopeful they can save an estimated $200 billion over 15 years. Rep. Steven Walsh and Sen. Richard Moore, the co-chairs of the Health Care Financing Committee, led the effort in the Legislature to get a bill done, and in August Patrick signed a bill, claiming, “Today we become the first to crack the code on cost.” Only time will tell if he’s right. But after being the first state to experiment with a health insurance mandate that became a model for national health reform, Massachusetts officials put themselves out there again to try to rein in cost, and there are no shortage of supporters and critics watching to see how it turns out.

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