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Linda Bergthold

Healthcare consultant, researcher; former national healthcare advisor

Linda Bergthold is an independent consultant, focusing on health reform and evidence-based medicine from a consumer perspective. She works with employers and trusts to help them design benefits that have high value and evidence of effectiveness. She also blogs on health policy and health reform for the Huffington Post and and provides editorial support for a major national health care consulting firm. Most recently she was a senior consultant at Watson Wyatt Worldwide, based in the Los Angeles office, focusing on strategic planning and compliance for employer clients in California and nationally. She was a National Thought Leader on Policy and Legislation for the Group Health Practice.

Prior to joining Watson Wyatt, she worked as the Government Relations Director for the Central Coast Alliance for Health, a managed Medi-Cal program serving Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. She has also worked as a vice president in the California office of The Lewin Group, a national health policy consulting firm, and a principal with the William M. Mercer human resources consulting firm. She spent five years as a health policy researcher at Stanford University’s Center for Health Policy, studying coverage decision making in California and national managed care plans, funded by the California HealthCare Foundation and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation before returning to consulting with Watson Wyatt in 2002.

Because of her varied experience in research, public policy, and benefits consulting, Linda worked with California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi on his universal health care coverage plan in the early 1990s and was subsequently selected to work on the benefit package for the White House Health Care Reform Task Force in 1993 as co-chair of the Benefits Working Group. In the last decade, she has focused on helping consumers better understand what works in medical care. In that role, she has served as the national consumer representative to the Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee in Washington, D.C., and is currently a panel member of the California Technology Assessment Forum. She serves as a board member of the National Partnership for Women and Families, a major consumer advocacy organization.

Linda holds a B.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California. She was a Pew Health Policy Doctoral Fellow at the Institute for Health Policy, UCSF. She is a widely published author on benefit design, medical necessity and purchasing strategies. Her book, Purchasing Power in Health, published in 1990 is a history of business participation in health care policy between 1970 and 1990.