Healey names Berwick to Health Policy Commission

Ex-gubernatorial candidate favors single-payer system

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

FORMER GUBERNATORIAL CANDIDATE DON BERWICK, who once held a top health post in the Obama administration, will join the state’s Health Policy Commission next year as an appointee of Attorney General Maura Healey.

Healey’s office confirmed the appointment Wednesday in response to an inquiry after Berwick listed himself as a commissioner on a disclosure form with the State Ethics Commission. Berwick is being named to the seat designated for a member with “expertise in health care consumer advocacy.”

Berwick, a Democrat, was one of three contenders for his party’s nomination in the 2014 gubernatorial primary, ultimately coming in third behind nominee Martha Coakley and former Treasurer Steven Grossman. He earned just over 21 percent of the primary vote, according to election records.

A pediatrician appointed as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2010, Berwick ran on a platform that included a plan to institute single-payer health care in the state.

Berwick has continued to advocate on the issue, appearing last month at a Boston fundraiser for the Massachusetts Campaign for Single Payer Health Care.

Berwick has served on staffs at Boston Children’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and is currently a lecturer at Harvard Medical School.

His ethics commission form discloses a contract with the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, through which he reports receiving a $500 honorarium. On the form, he wrote in “Pending” as his start date with the Health Policy Commission.

“Don has a long and deep career in health policy and management. His expertise will be invaluable to the Commission as it works to improve patient care and affordability in Massachusetts,” Healey said in a statement. “Don will be an influential member of the board and advisor to me as we work to create a more transparent and innovative health care system across this state.”

Berwick will replace Paul Hattis, the senior associate director of the masters in public health program at Tufts University Medical School.

Hattis and health economist David Cutler were appointed by former Attorney General Coakley when the commission was formed in 2012. Cutler will be reappointed by Healey.

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“On behalf of the HPC’s Board, we thank Dr. Paul Hattis for his service and advocacy on behalf of consumers over the past three years as a member of the HPC’s inaugural Board,” Seltz said.

The attorney general appoints three members to the commission. Two commissioners are gubernatorial appointees, and the secretaries of administration and finance and health and human services serve as ex-officio members. The remaining three members are appointed by the auditor.

Andy Metzger contributed to this report.