As he swore in board members who will oversee the Health Policy Commission, the new agency charged with holding down health care spending in the state, Governor Deval Patrick noted the gargantuan task they faced.
"This is a big challenge, a complicated challenge," he told the 11 members, who have varied backgrounds in health care, including some who have tried for decades to identify ways to slow rising costs. "It is one to which history has called all of you."
Massachusetts is the first state to set an annual target for total health care spending, passing a law earlier this year calling for costs to rise in line with the growth of the overall economy. The commission is charged with monitoring spending by hospitals and doctors groups.