Jim Roosevelt to Handle Health Care Merger Plan

In today’s Globe Robert Weisman profiles James Roosevelt, Jr. the would-be CEO of a proposed new non-profit healthcare insurer to be formed by the merger of Tufts Health Care and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Roosevelt with deep political roots –  grandson of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt,  longtime general counsel of the Massachusetts Democratic Party and activist with the National Democratic Committee  – is seen as a skilled diplomat and a highly respected health care insider. Weisman notes the goal of the merger as Roosevelt sees it:

He said the goal is to create a health insurance company that has enough clout to bargain with hospitals and doctors for lower rates, as well as the resources to support performance-based programs that will improve medical care and lower costs for patients.

Weisman also notes the view of political consultant Phil Johnson:

Boston political consultant Philip W. Johnston, former chairman of the Massachusetts Democratic Party — for which Roosevelt has long volunteered as general counsel and convention parliamentarian — said the Tufts chief executive is motivated more by public policy and social justice than by business concerns. A strong backer of the changes in state and federal health care, Roosevelt is especially interested in expanding access to health care for the poor and building economic security for middle-class workers, Johnston said.

“He’s in the social justice tradition of his grandfather,’’ he said. “That’s what drives him. His grandfather created Social Security, and he was one of the principals in running it 50 years later.’’

There is much work to be done for any merger comes to fruition – regulators, consumers, health care providers and advocates will want to review all aspects of the proposal and then be heard. Expect Jim Roosevelt to be fully engaged and fully commited to this process that would have a longterm influence on the Massachusetts health care system. Stay tuned.

Read the full Weisman article here at Boston.com.

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