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Charlie Baker will vote ‘no’ on nurse-staffing Question 1

Governor Charlie Baker said Wednesday he will vote against a ballot question that would limit the number of patients assigned to hospital nurses at one time.
Charles Krupa/Associated Press
Governor Charlie Baker said Wednesday he will vote against a ballot question that would limit the number of patients assigned to hospital nurses at one time.

Governor Charlie Baker said Wednesday he will vote against a ballot question that would limit the number of patients assigned to hospital nurses at one time.

He cited an independent state watchdog agency’s report that determined the measure could cost the Massachusetts health care system more than $900 million a year if voters pass it in November.

“I read the report over the weekend, and based on the results of that report, I’m going to vote ‘no’ on Question 1,” Baker told reporters.

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The watchdog, the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, determined if the ballot measure became law, hospitals would need to hire 2,286 to 3,101 additional full-time nurses to comply with the new mandate.

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Baker, a Republican, said his decision was driven by issues raised in the report including that “many community hospitals and some nursing homes, and even some rehab hospitals, would have their operational future put in jeopardy if that law were to pass.”

The Massachusetts Nurses Association backs the ballot measure, while the hospital industry is fighting it.

Democratic gubernatorial challenger Jay Gonzalez supports Question 1.

A new poll released Wednesday found support slipping for the ballot measure.

Joshua Miller can be reached at joshua.miller@globe.com.