Gov. Peter Shumlin added a high-level slot in his administration today when he made former Commerce Secretary Lawrence Miller the new “senior advisor to the governor and Chief of Health Care Reform.”
Miller will report directly to Shumlin, officials said at a news conference Thursday, and serve as the governor’s point person on health care reform issues. Previously, Robin Lunge, who serves as director of health care reform, was the top administration official working exclusively on health care reform issues.
In his new capacity Miller will serve as Shumlin’s point person on health care.
He says he’ll be responsible for making sure all the dots are connected as Vermont moves toward a single payer system of health
"Many, many people throughout state government are working on individual elements of this," Miller said. "My goal over the first couple of months is simply to understand what they are working on, what critical decisions need to be made and what those dependencies are."
In January, Gov. Shumlin tapped Miller to work on the troubled roll-out of the Vermont Health Connect Website. The work involved negotiating a new contract with the company that designed the site.
Miller has a background in business and served as CEO of two Vermont companies before joining the administration.
Patricia Moulton, a former labor commissioner and deputy secretary of commerce, will replace Miller as the secretary of commerce.
Moulton is a former Deputy Secretary of Commerce and served as Labor Commissioner under Gov. Jim Douglas. Shumlin said that the move will help the state’s economy as well as the continuing efforts to smooth out early problems in health care reform.
“The most important thing we can do for Vermont’s economy and our ability to grow jobs is to get health care and economic development right. Lawrence and Pat will help us do that,” he said.
The staffing changes will go into effect at the beginning of June, though Miller has already been working on health care reform issues since January.