Gov. Phil Scott has appointed former lawmaker and state official Tom Pelham to fill the fifth seat on the Green Mountain Care Board.
Pelham, who replaces Con Hogan, has held multiple posts under four previous governors. He was tax commissioner for Republican Jim Douglas; finance commissioner under Democrat Howard Dean, and commissioner and deputy commissioner of housing and community affairs under Democrat Madeleine Kunin and Republican Richard Snelling.
The Green Mountain Care Board, which regulates Vermont's health care system and oversees the state's reform efforts, has undergone significant turnover this year. Pelham is the third person Scott has appointed over six months, joining Maureen Usifer and board chair Kevin Mullin.
Pelham, who identifies as an independent, was elected a state representative in 2002, and he served one year. More recently, he cofounded the public policy organization Campaign for Vermont with Bruce Lisman, who challenged Scott in the Republican primary for governor.
Pelham said he's prepared for his new role as a health care regulator: "The fact that we spend five and a half to six billion dollars on health care in Vermont is not something that frightens me. I've dealt with budgets in the billions before."
He supports the state's central health care reform project: developing an all-payer system in which providers are paid a block sum to care for their patients.
"I think Vermont is heading down the right path in trying to make a more direct relationship between health care and healthy people and the millions of dollars that we’re investing in it," Pelham said. "But it’s a high-wire act, and it's got to be done carefully and thoughtfully," he added.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated how Pelham became a state representative.