The Legislature’s slow-developing plans for a two-year pilot program to expand eligibility for health care premium assistance and subsidies came crashing down Wednesday with a veto from Gov. Charlie Baker, who said he prefers maximizing uptake in plans already offered through the Commonwealth Connector Authority.

The Legislature included the pilot, which would have extended aid to applicants at or below 500 percent of federal poverty guidelines, in its fiscal 2023 budget. Baker returned the proposal with an amendment, which was rejected.

While the Legislature holds some responsibility for the proposal’s demise, Health Care For All channeled its criticism at Baker and the group commended lawmakers “for their persistent leadership and support for this pilot.”

“Today’s decision to block the pilot program that would expand ConnectorCare and allow an estimated 37,000 additional Massachusetts residents to receive affordable health care is a significant step backward for health care coverage and access in Massachusetts,” Executive Director Amy Rosenthal said in a statement. “At a time when families are struggling to make ends meet in the face of rising costs, denying them access to care and relief from health care costs does not make sense. We hear every day on our Helpline from individuals who are unable to afford basic care and who often delay necessary care as a result. No one should be forced to choose between seeing a doctor or paying their rent.”

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