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11-member Health Policy Commission to begin work Friday

The governor, attorney general, and state auditor announced their picks Wednesday afternoon for a new commission that will set a health care spending goal for the state and track providers’ progress in staying within the target. The 11-member board, made up of people with deep histories in health care policy in Massachusetts and nationally, will play an unprecedented role in the state’s health care market.

“I am confident they will be successful in leading the charge in driving down health care costs,” Governor Deval Patrick said in a press release. “I thank them for their willingness in taking on this important task.”

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The commission will meet for the first time Friday in the Gardner Auditorium at the State House at 9:30 a.m.

The members include:

  • Dr. Stuart Altman, health economist at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University. Altman has four decades of experience working on the issue of health care costs. After being announced as chairman of the commission two weeks ago, Altman said he has seen many efforts to control costs fail but he is “cautiously optimistic that we can make it work here in Massachusetts and that eventually we will be the model for the rest of the country.”
  • Jean Yang, chief financial officer of the Massachusetts Health Connector, the agency created to manage a virtual insurance marketplace created under the state’s 2006 health law to expand coverage. Yang has helped to lead efforts to implement the national Affordable Care Act in Massachusetts. She previously worked for Tufts Health Plan and with health care consulting firms.
  • Dr. Carole Allen, retired pediatrician and former director of pediatrics at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates. Allen practiced for 37 years and has taught pediatrics, including at Harvard Medical School and Boston University School of Medicine, for more than 25 years. She is a member of the board of directors for the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • David Cutler, health economist at Harvard University. Cutler has advised several presidential candidates on health care policy, and was senior health care advisor to President Obama’s campaign. He is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.
  • Dr. Paul Hattis, senior associate director of the Masters of Public Health Program at Tufts University Medical School. Hattis has been a senior medical advisor on community benefits programs at Partners HealthCare and was a leader in the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization’s consumer advocacy and education efforts on the health care law passed this summer.
  • Marylou Sudders, an associate professor and chairwoman of the health and mental health concentration for graduate students in social work at Boston College. Sudders was state commissioner for mental health for seven years and chief executive of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
  • Dr. Wendy Everett, president of NEHI, a nonprofit health policy institute based in Cambridge. Everett has more than 40 years of experience in health care. She has held executive positions at the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. And she has directed several national health programs funded by major foundations.
  • Rick Lord, chief executive of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, an employer group that was active in the debate over the health care law. Lord has been with the association since 1991 and led it since 1999. He previously was chief of staff for the state House Committee on Ways and Means.
  • Veronica Turner, executive vice president of 1199SEIU, the largest union representing health care workers in Massachusetts. She holds the same role with the Massachusetts AFL-CIO and is a board member of the Commonwealth Corporation, a workforce development agency.
  • Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, state secretary of Health and Human Services. Bigby is a primary care physician and was medical director of Community Health Programs at Brigham and Women’s before she was appointed to her state role.
  • Jay Gonzalez, state secretary of Administration and Finance. Gonzalez’s office is responsible for preparing the governor’s state budget recommendations and developing long-term financial strategies for the state. He also chairs the Massachusetts Health Connector board.

Chelsea Conaboy can be reached at cconaboy@boston.com. Follow her on Twitter @cconaboy.
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