Another Health Care Leader Eyes Mass. Governor’s Seat

The election of 2014 is shaping up to be the year of the health-care-leader-as-politician, with another health expert today announcing his intention to run for Governor of Massachusetts.

WBUR’s Martha Bebinger reports that Evan Falchuk, of Newton, an executive with the online referral and consultation site Best Doctors, is jumping into the race. In his bid for governor, Martha reports that Falchuk is also starting the United Independent Party aimed at “voters [who] feel shut out of politics.”

“This is a movement,” Falchuk says. “And what we’re about is, taking the values of being socially progressive and fiscally moderate, and putting those two things together, which the two parties today don’t do.”

Evan Falchuk, the latest health care leader to jump into the 2014 Mass. gubernatorial race.

Evan Falchuk, the lates health care leader to jump into the Mass. gubernatorial race.

Falchuk’s announcement follows news from pediatrician and former director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Don Berwick that he is seriously considering a run for the state’s top post.

“A lot appeals to me about the governor’s office,” Berwick, a Democrat, longtime Harvard faculty member and health quality guru, told WBUR’s Sacha Pfeiffer last month. “For example, I had this chance to work in Washington running the Medicare agency and I saw how good government can be. That is, how much productive force there can be in government for really helping relieve suffering and improving the well-being of people. I also saw how bad government can get: paralyzed, riven by contention. I think a lot of opportunity lies at the state level now, and I think productive state government — respecting the state employees, really working with vision — can get a ton done that can’t be done at any other level. That’s exciting to me.”

Also in the running is Democrat Dr. Joseph Avellone, described by The Boston Globe as “a Harvard-educated surgeon and former Wellesley selectman” and “executive at Waltham’s Parexel International Corp., a biotechnology services company. Avellone, 64, who previously was chief operating officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, [told the Globe that] controlling health care costs will also be a key part of his platform.”

Another potential contender (though undeclared) is Charlie Baker, the former president of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care who ran unsuccessfully in the 2010 governor’s race in Massachusetts as the Republican nominee.

(Martha notes that some more traditional politicians, including State Treasurer Steve Grossman, Attorney General Martha Coakley and U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, are all believed to be considering a run in the 2014 race for governor.)

So will this be the new era of the health care leader leading the state? Is that good news for patients/citizens? What’s your view?

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