For Immediate Release

August 26, 2013

Contact: Dolores Mitchell, Executive Director, GIC


Will Provide Valuable Expertise as GIC Moves Forward with Implementing Health Care Payment Reform

BOSTON– Monday, August 26, 2013 - Governor Deval Patrick announced the appointment of Katherine Baicker, Professor of Health Economics at Harvard’s School of Public Health, to the health economist seat on the Group Insurance Commission, the state agency that provides health and other insurance benefits to Commonwealth employees, retirees and their families.  This appointment comes at a critical time as the GIC moves forward with implementing new payment models as part of the Commonwealth’s Health Care Payment Reform.  

“I am proud to welcome Katherine Baicker as Commissioner of the Group Insurance Commission,” said Secretary of Administration and Finance Glen Shor. “The wealth of experience and leadership skills she brings to the GIC will help us deliver on the promise of providing quality health care benefits for our state and municipal workers and their families while achieving real, sustainable savings for the Commonwealth.”

The Patrick Administration has taken an aggressive health care cost containment strategy to control health care costs while providing high quality care for the Commonwealth’s residents.  This strategy leverages the state’s purchasing power and rewards models that provide cost-effective, high-quality coverage to those who rely on state health insurance, including the GIC’s members.

“Ensuring that members get as much health from the benefits provided as possible while ensuring financial stability for the years to come is critical to the program’s long term viability,” said Professor Baicker.  “I am looking forward to serving on the Commission and working to provide members and the Commonwealth with high value and high quality care.” 

In addition to teaching at Harvard, Ms. Baicker is a research associate for the National Bureau of Economic Research and an elected member of the Institute of Medicine. She serves on a number of boards and commissions, including AcademyHealth, where she has been Chair of the Board of Directors for two years, on Health Affairs’ editorial board, on the Journal of Health Economics editorial board, on the Congressional Budget Office’s panel of health advisers, and as a Commissioner on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. She has published extensively on a variety of health economics issues, including expanding insurance coverage and improving the value of care delivered. Prior to joining the faculty at Harvard School of Public Health, she was a member of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Executive Office of the President and on the faculty at Dartmouth College. She earned her PhD in Economics from Harvard University and her BA in Economics from Yale University.

The GIC was established by the Legislature in 1955 to provide health, life, and other benefits to state employees, retirees, and their dependents. The GIC also covers housing and redevelopment authorities' personnel, participating municipalities, and retired municipal employees and teachers in certain governmental units.  There are currently over 225,000 members and over 400,000 lives covered by the GIC.  A seventeen-member commission representing labor, retirees, municipal management, the public interest, the Administration, and expertise in health economics governs the GIC.

This information provided by the Group Insurance Commission.