Former Medicare Chief and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Don Berwick apparently got a boost at a recent state convention, coming in third behind two front-runners. Former political editor Peter Canellos writer notes Berwick’s support for single payer in the Globe’s new “Capital” section:
When his rivals claimed he wasn’t really offering anything new — just another health care commission — Berwick doubled down by calling it “Medicare for all,” a description that pretty much suggests he’d eliminate private insurance.
Now, with the Democratic race down to three candidates — Berwick, and two party regulars with histories of failing to excite voters — single-payer will finally get the attention it merits as essentially the only markedly different policy proposal to emerge from either party. A bold move to show the Obama administration what real reform looks like? A takeover that will roil the system? A vehicle for finally bringing about equality in health care? A threat to Massachusetts’ world-class doctors and hospitals? Single-payer could be all those and more. And if Massachusetts were to broadly restructure its health system, yet again, reverberations would be felt across the nation.
The Globe tagged along with him earlier this week, starting with a scene at the WBUR studios.
Can Berwick, who ran Medicare and Medicaid in the Obama administration for 1½ years, appeal to voters outside the left wing of the Democratic Party?
He’d face the question twice more Monday, once from a Boston Herald reporter and again that evening at a Democratic gubernatorial forum in Jamaica Plain.
For Berwick, the question is misplaced because, he says, it underestimates the liberal impulse of the entire state — a state that elected Governor Deval Patrick and Senator Elizabeth Warren.
“This is a place where people really want to honor the idea that we are in this together, community by community,” he said in the WBUR interview. “And no, I don’t feel this is confined to some kind of fringe progressive wing.”
A bit here from Berwick on some of the Republican ideas for Medicare from out 2012 post.