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Medicaid Who’s Who Interview: Anne Schwartz

Anne Schwartz is Executive Director at MACPAC – Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission.

Check out her LinkedIn profile HERE.

Which segment of the industry are you currently involved?

MACPAC is a nonpartisan agency of the federal legislative branch, charged with providing data analysis and advice on Medicaid and CHIP policy issues to Congress, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the states. Although Medicaid is a federal-state partnership and our authorizing statute allows MACPAC to make recommendations for state action, our work has primarily focused on federal policy issues. That said, in the few short years MACPAC has been in existence, we’ve developed an extensive body of work on how federal policy plays out in the 50 states, D.C., and the territories. In my time at MACPAC, our work has focused on a wide range of Medicaid issues from hospital payment to reauthorization of funding for CHIP to streamlining managed care authorities.

How many years have you been in the Medicaid industry?

I have been with MACPAC since 2012 but I have been working in the health policy field for over 30 years, including stints on Capitol Hill, working with health philanthropies, and being an editor for the journal Health Affairs, all of which involved Medicaid to some extent.

What is your focus/passion? (Industry related or not)

Translating research into information that policymakers can use. Researchers and policymakers speak different languages and rarely understand each other. We would be in a much better place if researchers understood the kinds of challenges and questions facing policymakers, and if policymakers used the results from research in crafting policy.

What is the top item on your “bucket list?”

I am more of a fan of being open to new experiences than keeping a bucket list.  This fall, I’m looking forward to a rafting expedition in the Grand Canyon.

What do you enjoy doing most with your personal time?

I love active travel and my best vacations with both family and friends have involved hiking, biking, and kayaking.  When I’m at home, you’ll find me reading, trying new recipes, or going to the movies. 

Who is your favorite historical figure and why?

I am inspired by ordinary people who look around, see what needs to be done to make the world a better place, and don’t wait to ask permission to do it, people like John Snow, who, in the 19th century, took the handle off London’s Broad Street pump to stop a cholera epidemic , and civil rights icon Rosa Parks.  I also admire the fearlessness and tenacity of those who provided shelter to Jews during the Holocaust, and health professionals serving people in war zones.  

What is your favorite junk food?

Sour cream and onion potato chips. Fortunately the street vendors in downtown DC sell these in single portion size.

Of what accomplishment are you most proud?

I defended my doctoral dissertation while working full time and having a five month old baby at home.  My husband and coworkers deserve a lot of credit for supporting me to do this.

For what one thing do you wish you could get a mulligan?

I wish I had taken a semester abroad when I was in college.  Having since had the opportunity to live overseas, I think every young person should take the opportunity to immerse themselves in a different culture even it’s only for a few months.  In the end, it would have been a far more formative experience than staying at my university to write a senior honors thesis.

What are the top 1-3 issues that you think will be important in Medicaid during the next 6 months?

Prescription drug pricing and coverage, work and community engagement requirements, and additional actions to address the epidemic of opioid use and other substance use disorders.

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Know someone in the space who’s doing great work and is an all around interesting person?

Send a note to clay@mostlymedicaid.com to nominate them for the next round of Medicaid Industry Who’s Who Interviews