KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Former CMS Head Berwick Enters Mass. Gov Race

Donald Berwick, a former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, announced Monday that he will run for governor of Massachusetts. Berwick served for a year and a half as head of CMS and had since then expressed interest in remaining in the public arena.

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Don Berwick Formally Enters Mass. Governor Race
Don Berwick, who has served as administrator of U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs, formally announced his plans to run for governor of Massachusetts Monday. … A Harvard pediatrician and health policy expert, Mr. Berwick was temporarily appointed by President Barack Obama during congressional recess in 2010. He was never confirmed by the Senate, hindered by comments he made praising the British government-run health care system and some health spending cuts that proved overly controversial, and he left the position in late 2011. Mr. Berwick was administrator in the first stages of health care reform, which has significantly impacted Medicare and Medicaid. He has been a firm supporter of federal coordination of patient care and of moving away from "fee-for-service" payment structures (Ballhaus, 6/17).

The Washington Post: Former Obama Administration Official Berwick Announces Run For Governor
Former Obama administration official Donald Berwick will run for governor of Massachusetts in 2014, he announced Monday. "As a doctor, an educator, an innovator and someone who has dedicated his professional career to making things work better and to helping people - I am ready to lead," said Berwick, the former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (Sullivan, 6/17).

USA Today: Obama's Ex-Medicare Chief Running For Mass. Governor
It's too early to tell, however, if Berwick's role in advocating for the health care law known as Obamacare will help or hurt him in predominantly blue Massachusetts. The Bay State has its own health care law that mandates insurance coverage -- which Obama said during his 2012 campaign was a model for Obamacare (Camia, 6/17).

Politico: Don Berwick Announces Run For Massachusetts Governor
Berwick, who has spent his career practicing medicine and running a leading health care improvement organization, has never held or even sought elected office. But he told Politico earlier this year that his time in Washington had made him want to stay in the public arena and try to enact policy ideas statewide. Massachusetts, the first state in the nation to expand health coverage, is now trying to address its high health costs (Kenen, 6/17).

WBUR: Berwick Makes Campaign For Governor Official
Berwick served for a year-and-a-half as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under Obama, and since January has been meeting with voters and donors as he explored a potential campaign (Murphy, 6/17).

Boston Globe: Health Leader Donald Berwick Starts Bid For Governor
Dr. Donald M. Berwick, a former Obama administration official, quietly launched his campaign for governor Monday, more than 16 months before voters hit the polls to elect a successor to Governor Deval Patrick. An expert on health care cost and quality but a political novice, Berwick kicked off his maiden run for elective office, becoming the first big-name Democrat to enter what is expected to be a robustly contested race for the Corner Office (Miller, 6/18).

Modern Healthcare: Berwick Enters Race For Mass. Governor
Berwick took to the Internet with the news, making the announcement on his campaign website and posting it on a separate Twitter account for his campaign. In his statement, he said he'd been mulling the run for months. He first showed interest for the governor's office in January (Selvam, 6/17).

Medpage Today: Berwick Enters Mass. Governor's Race
On his campaign website, Berwick, who is running as a Democrat, praises Massachusetts' system of universal health coverage. "Massachusetts should be proud that ours was the first state in the nation to make healthcare a human right," the site says. "But that is not going to be sustainable without major changes and improvements in health care delivery -- improvements that Don has been working on worldwide for the last 3 decades. The best route to sustainable care is to improve care, and that is a cornerstone of Don's agenda. But that means helping our amazing health care organizations navigate through a difficult change to team-based, integrated, truly patient-centered care, with an emphasis on prevention and healing" (Frieden, 6/17).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.