Massachusetts Democrats might have saved a plan to use part of the state’s overwhelming budget surplus to expand health care subsidies for middle-class residents, despite Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s efforts to kill the proposal.

What’s happening: Baker blocked an expansion of ConnectorCare, which subsidizes health care costs, in an amendment to the state’s $52.7 billion budget.

  • Baker says he wants to further study the program before expanding it.
  • Lawmakers rejected Baker’s amendment and resurrected the expansion, which would take effect in June 2023.

Why it matters: Massachusetts residents see costs rising on every corner, from the gas pump to grocery stores to utility bills.

  • Advocates say the program would offer lower premiums and deductibles, as well as other subsidies to families who are struggling but make slightly too much to get health care assistance under the current rules.

Details: The program would change eligibility to cover a person making up to $68,000 a year or a family of four making $139,000 a year — an estimated 37,000 Massachusetts residents.

  • ConnectorCare members are more likely to seek health care if their costs are subsidized, according to a 2021 Massachusetts Health Connector report.
  • Gorman Associates, which was contracted by the advocacy group Health Care For All to provide a cost analysis, projects the expansion would cost $75 million a year.

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