Former CMS Administrator Dr. Donald Berwick, the noted healthcare quality guru and vocal advocate of a single-payer health insurance system, will not be the next governor of Massachusetts. Berwick finished third in Tuesday's Democratic primary, which was won by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley.
Berwick, 68, who founded the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, drew support from 21% of primary voters, compared to 42% for Coakley and 36% for state Treasurer Steve Grossman. Support for a Medicare-for-all type system was a cornerstone of Berwick's campaign.
President Barack Obama used the recess appointment process in July 2010 to place Berwick in the top CMS post, where he won praise for making the agency more responsive and focused on improvement both externally and internally.
But he stepped down in late 2011 when it was clear that Senate Republicans would not confirm him. They cited his praise of the National Health Service in England, where he was knighted for helping making the NHS more efficient. Prior to that, Berwick had gained international attention for his work at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
In November, Coakley will face Charlie Baker, a former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. In his second attempt to capture the GOP nomination for governor, Baker coasted to victory with 74% of the vote. Recent polls have shown Coakley with an edge heading into the general election.
But she previously lost a U.S. Senate special election in 2009 to Republican Scott Brown in heavily Democratic Massachusetts. That outcome, blamed in part on her running a poor campaign, created major headaches for the Democrats in trying to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
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