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Commonwealth Fund National Task Force on the Future Role of Employers in the U.S. Health System

At a time when half the U.S. population gets health insurance through an employer, the Commonwealth Fund National Task Force on the Future Role of Employers in the U.S. Health System will examine the changes needed to improve employee access to affordable health insurance and timely health care. The task force aims to build consensus on market incentives and regulatory or legislative changes needed to enhance health coverage in the workplace, ensure access to affordable, equitable health care, and improve population health and care delivery.

The national task force will meet several times throughout 2024. Their deliberations will culminate in the release of a blueprint for the future role of employers in the U.S. health system in 2025.

Task Force Members

The nonpartisan task force is chaired by Peter Lee, J.D., senior scholar at Stanford University’s Clinical Excellence Research Center, and Sherry Glied, Ph.D., dean of the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University. Members of the task force are a diverse group of former health industry stakeholders, experts in employer coverage, and health care thought leaders from a broad range of institutions. The task force is staffed by the Commonwealth Fund’s Sara Collins, Ph.D., and Lovisa Gustafsson, M.B.A.

Peter Lee, J.D., Senior Scholar, Stanford University’s Clinical Excellence Research Center

  • Peter V. Lee is a senior scholar with Stanford University’s Clinical Excellence Research Center. He was the founding executive director of Covered California, where he oversaw all aspects of the largest Affordable Care Act state-run marketplace in the nation from its inception in 2011 to 2022. Covered California provided coverage both through its small-business marketplace and for many business owners and employees of small employers through its individual marketplace. Lee previously served in the Obama administration, where he helped establish the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) and was the director of delivery system reform. In both roles, he sought opportunities to align public sector policies to support employers and employees in the private sector. Before that, he led the Pacific (now Purchaser) Business Group on Health (PBGH) for eight years, helping a coalition of 50 large employer and public purchasers purchase strategically and encourage changes in health care delivery. At PBGH he supported large purchasers such as CalPERS, Wells Fargo, Boeing, and Comcast design and implement value-purchasing arrangements. He also oversaw the operations of Pacific Health Advantage, the small-employer purchasing pool for the State of California.

Sherry Glied, Ph.D., Dean, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University

  • In 2013, Sherry A. Glied was named dean of New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. From 1989 to 2013, she was professor of health policy and management at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She was chair of the department of health policy and management from 1998 to 2009. On June 22, 2010, Glied was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services and served in that capacity from July 2010 through August 2012. She had previously served as senior economist for health care and labor market policy on the President’s Council of Economic Advisers in 1992–1993, under Presidents Bush and Clinton, and participated in the Clinton Health Care Task Force. Glied has been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Social Insurance, and served as a member of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking. She is the 2021 recipient of the AUPHA William B. Graham Prize for Health Services Research. In November 2023, Governor Hochul selected her as chair of the New York State Commission on the Future of Health Care, with the goal of ensuring access to high-quality, equitable care for all New Yorkers.

Leemore Dafny, Ph.D., Professor of Business Administration, Harvard University

  • Leemore S. Dafny is the Bruce V. Rauner Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and professor of public policy at Harvard Kennedy School. She is a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research and serves on the board of the American Society of Health Economists. In 2012–2013, she served as deputy director for health care and antitrust at the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Economics, a position created to enhance the agency’s efforts to promote competition in the health care sector. In her FTC role, Dafny oversaw a staff of more than 50 economists, investigating cases and advising on competitive issues ranging from provider consolidation to reverse payment settlements in the pharmaceutical industry. She also served on the Panel of Health Advisers for the Congressional Budget Office for over a decade, concluding in 2023. Dafny’s academic research focuses on competitive interactions among payers and providers of health care services, with an emphasis on antitrust, competitive strategy, and public policy.

Lloyd Dean, Chief Executive Emeritus and Founding Executive, CommonSpirit Health

  • Lloyd H. Dean is the chief executive emeritus of CommonSpirit Health, one of the largest nonprofit health systems in the United States, with more than 140 hospitals, more than 1,000 care sites, 25,000 physicians, and 150,000 employees across 21 states. Previously, Dean was president/CEO of California-based Catholic Healthcare West, which became Dignity Health, where he oversaw partnerships that created positive patient experiences, efficient care, and healthier communities. This approach helped lead to the creation of CommonSpirit Health. Dean has been appointed to the New York State Commission on the Future of Health Care and is chair of its hospital subcommittee. He has been appointed to federal and state committees charged with the economic development of California and was cochair of the California Future Health Workforce Commission, which examined California’s future demand for health care workers.

Andrew Dreyfus, Former President and Chief Executive Officer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

  • Andrew Dreyfus is a health care executive and expert in health system change. He served from 2010 to 2022 as president and chief executive officer for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA), a plan with over $9 billion in revenue and 3 million members. Under his leadership, BCBSMA was known as an innovator on payment models, quality improvement, mental health, and health equity. He joined BCBSMA in 2005 as executive vice president of health care services, where he led the creation of the Alternative Quality Contract, one of the largest commercial payment reform programs in the nation. He previously served as founding president of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, where he oversaw the initiative that led to the passage of the Massachusetts 2006 health reform law, which later became the model for the Affordable Care Act. Dreyfus is an adjunct lecturer in health policy and management at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, an expert-in-residence at United States of Care, and a senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. Prior to Blue Cross, he was executive vice president of the Massachusetts Hospital Association and held senior health and regulatory positions in Massachusetts state government.

José Escarce, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Medicine and of Health Policy and Management, University of California, Los Angeles

  • José J. Escarce, M.D., a health economist and internist, is distinguished professor of medicine in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and distinguished professor of health policy and management in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. His research has addressed Medicare payment systems, public insurance expansions, the effect of market forces on health care access and quality, the health care workforce, racial and socioeconomic inequity in health and health care, and social determinants of health. He served as coeditor-in-chief of Health Services Research, a leading journal in its field. He has also served on several federal advisory committees as well as on numerous National Academy of Medicine and National Academy of Sciences Panels and Committees. Escarce was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2008 and to the NAM Council in 2022.

Yvette Fontenot, M.P.P., Chief Executive Officer, Impact Health Policy Partners

  • Yvette Fontenot is the CEO of Impact Health Policy Partners, a health policy consulting firm that works directly with nationally respected employers, payers, foundations, investors, and other health care stakeholders to lower costs, improve value and quality, and expand access. She has 25 years of federal health care experience, including senior roles at the White House, the Department of Health and Human Services, and on Capitol Hill. In her administration roles, Fontenot helped implement the Affordable Care Act’s access and delivery system reform provisions. Prior to her work in the administration, she served as professional staff with the Senate Finance Committee, where she was a principal author of the Affordable Care Act. She also served as professional staff with the House Energy and Commerce Committee, advisor to Senator John Rockefeller, and program examiner at the White House Office of Management and Budget, where she helped with development and passage of the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Medicare Modernization Act.

Paul Fronstin, Ph.D., Director of Health Benefits Research, Employee Benefit Research Institute

  • Paul Fronstin is director of health benefits research at the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to original public policy research and education on economic security and employee benefits. He also oversees the Center for Research on Health Benefits Innovation. He has been with EBRI since 1993. Fronstin’s research interests include trends in employment-based health benefits, employee benefits and public policy, health plan design, health savings accounts, workplace wellness programs, retiree health benefits, and public opinion about health benefits and health care. He currently serves on the board of trustees for Emeriti Retirement Health Solutions. He also serves on the national advisory board for the University of Michigan Center for Value-Based Insurance Design. Fronstin earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Miami.

Robert Galvin, M.D., M.B.A., Former Chief Executive Officer of Equity Healthcare, The Blackstone Group

  • Robert Galvin, M.D., is CEO of The Right Doctor, which connects people with serious illnesses to expert physicians and centers of excellence. He is also a senior advisor at Blackstone, where he was an operating partner and CEO of Equity Healthcare, a $2 billion health management company, from 2010 to 2022. Prior to Blackstone, Galvin was a senior executive at General Electric, managing their $3 billion annual employee health spend and 220 global medical clinics while also serving as chief medical officer. He is one of the founders of value-based purchasing and has started three nonprofits supporting quality measurement and payment reform: the Leapfrog Group (cofounder), Prometheus, and Catalyst for Payment Reform. His policy work has been published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the Harvard Business Review, and Health Affairs. Galvin is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and is professor adjunct of medicine and health policy at Yale University.

Benedic Ippolito, Ph.D., M.S., Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute

  • Benedic N. Ippolito is a senior fellow in economic policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. His research focuses on a variety of topics within health economics, including the pharmaceutical market, Medicare Advantage, provider pricing, and the role of health care costs in the personal finances of Americans. Ippolito has been published in a variety of leading peer-reviewed academic journals, including JAMA, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, Health Affairs, and Georgetown Law Review. He frequently testifies before Congress and currently serves as an associate editor of Health Affairs Scholar. Ippolito earned a Ph.D. and M.S. in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Ken Jacobs, Cochair, Center for Labor Research and Education, University of California, Berkeley

  • Ken Jacobs is cochair of the University of California, Berkeley, Center for Labor Research and Education (Labor Center), where he has been a labor specialist since 2002. His research work at the Labor Center has focused on low-wage work, labor standards policies, and access to health care. Jacobs’s research on health care has focused on changes in employment-based coverage and the effects of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and state/local health policies on workers and firms. He served as principal investigator for the California Health Policy Research Program, a multicampus program providing research and technical assistance to policymakers and stakeholders. He has provided research and technical assistance to Covered California, the California Department of Health Care Services, and multiple county agencies on issues related to health care coverage and access in the state. Jacobs served on the research team for the Healthy California for All Commission, and as a member of the San Francisco Universal Health Care Task Force.

Jason Levitis, J.D., Senior Fellow, Urban Institute

  • Jason Levitis is a senior fellow at the Urban Institute’s Health Policy Center and a nonresident senior fellow at Yale Law School’s Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy. He currently conducts research and advises federal and state officials and health care advocates on a wide range of health care policy and legal issues. From 2009 to 2017, Levitis served at the U.S. Treasury Department, where he represented the department on the interagency workgroup that helped craft and then guided implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He led Treasury’s work implementing the ACA’s tax provisions, including the premium tax credit, the employer and individual shared responsibility provisions, reporting requirements, and health-related revenue provisions. He also cochaired the working group that stood up the Section 1332 waiver program. His research and strategic advice focus on the regulation and financing of health coverage, health insurance subsidies, section 1332 waivers, tax-preferred health spending vehicles, marketplace and tax operations, automatic enrollment, efforts to minimize administrative burdens, and federal regulatory process.

Amy Monahan, J.D., Distinguished McKnight University Professor and Melvin Steen & Corporate Donors Professor, University of Minnesota Law School

  • Amy Monahan is Distinguished McKnight University Professor and Melvin Steen & Corporate Donors Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota, where she teaches and writes in employee benefits law. Monahan is a nationally recognized expert on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and its impact on employer-provided health plans. In 2010–2011 she served on the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on the Determination of Essential Health Benefits, and in 2013 was awarded the American Law Institute’s Young Scholars Medal in recognition of her work on both public pensions and health care reform, and its potential to influence improvements in the law. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel. A graduate of the Johns Hopkins University and Duke University School of Law, Monahan practiced law with Sidley & Austin prior to becoming a law professor.

Barak Richman, J.D., Ph.D., Visiting Professor of Law, George Washington University Law School

  • Barak Richman is the Katharine T. Bartlett Professor of Law and Business Administration at Duke University, and as of July 2024 will be the Alexander Hamilton Professor of Business Law at George Washington University. From 1994 to 1996 he handled international trade legislation as a staff member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, then chaired by Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. His primary research interests include the economics of contracting, new institutional economics, antitrust, and health care policy. Richman has testified before Congress regarding competition policy and hospital consolidation, and he coauthored the American Antitrust Institute’s white papers on health care competition policy. He is a founding faculty member of Duke University’s Margolis Center on Health Policy, a senior fellow at the Kenan Institute for Ethics, and a senior scholar at the Clinical Excellence Research Center at Stanford Medical School. Richman earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied under Nobel Laureate in Economics Oliver Williamson.

John Rowe, M.D., Professor of Health Policy and Aging, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health

  • John W. Rowe, M.D., is the Julius B. Richmond Professor of Health Policy and Aging at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Previously, from 2000 until late 2006, he served as chairman and CEO of Aetna, Inc., one of the nation’s leading health care and related benefits organizations. Before his tenure at Aetna, from 1998 to 2000, Rowe served as president and CEO of Mount Sinai NYU Health, one of the nation’s largest academic health care organizations. From 1988 to 1998, prior to the Mount Sinai-NYU Health merger, he was president of the Mount Sinai Hospital and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. Before joining Mount Sinai, he was a professor of medicine and the founding director of the division on aging at Harvard Medical School, as well as chief of gerontology at Boston’s Beth Israel Hospital. Currently, Rowe leads the MacArthur Foundation’s Research Network on an Aging Society.

LaJuanna Russell, M.B.A., Founder and President, Business Management Associates, Inc.

  • A visionary who started her now award-winning, multimillion-dollar business with a personal investment of $500, LaJuanna Russell has more than 20 years of experience in all aspects of business operations and government contracting. She is particularly practiced in the areas of human resource management and process improvement and is a sought-after speaker on topics such as the future of work, leadership, diversity and inclusion, entrepreneurship, and women in government contracting. Russell serves on a number of boards and commissions, including serving as chair of the Small Business Majority Board of Directors and as chair-elect of the Alexandria Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. In addition to her certification as a Six Sigma Green Belt, Russell earned an accelerated M.B.A. with concentrations in international business and finance from the George Washington University.

Mark Smith, M.D., M.B.A., Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco

  • Mark D. Smith, M.D., is currently clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. From 2015 to 2019, he served as cochair of the Guiding Committee of the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network. Smith was the founding president and former CEO of the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF). During his time at CHCF he also served on the boards of the National Business Group on Health and Grantmakers In Health. Prior to CHCF he was on the faculty at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and was vice president of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. He was elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2001 and chaired its Committee on the Learning Health Care System, which produced the widely publicized 2012 report, Best Care at Lower Cost. He serves as a director of Teladoc Health, Inc., Phreesia, the Commonwealth Fund, and Jazz Pharmaceuticals. A board-certified internist, Smith maintains a clinical practice in HIV at the Positive Health Practice at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

Sally Welborn, Executive Director of Advisory Services, Employer Health Innovation Roundtable

  • Sally Welborn serves as the executive director of advisory services for the Employer Health Innovation Roundtable (EHIR). She also advises employers, entrepreneurs, and others in the health care and employee benefits arenas through Welborn Advisory Services. She was most recently senior vice president of global benefits for Walmart Stores, Inc., where she was responsible for overseeing the global benefits programs for more than 2.2 million Walmart associates and their families in 28 countries. Prior to joining Walmart, Welborn was senior vice president, corporate benefits for Wells Fargo & Company. She has also held positions at HCIA, William M. Mercer Inc., and Aetna. She currently is a member of the board of directors of Truveris, Inc., and Vivante Health. She also serves on the board of the Leapfrog Group and as a board advisor for the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. She was previously on the board of the Business Group on Health and the chair of the ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC). In her roles at Walmart and Wells Fargo, Welborn was among the nation’s early adopters of defined contribution health benefits, centers of excellence, narrow networks, cost transparency, telemedicine, and second-opinion services.