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Medicaid Who’s Who Interview: Meg Murray

Meg Murray is CEO at
Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP)

Check out her LinkedIn profile HERE.

Which segment of the industry are you currently involved?

ACAP is a national trade association, representing 66 non-profit Medicaid Managed Care Plans that serve over 20 million lives in 29 states. Our safety net health plans provide care to nearly half of all people enrolled in Medicaid managed care plans.

How many years have you been in the Medicaid industry?

I started my career in Medicaid managed care in 1994 while working at the Office of Management and Budget, focusing on the Medicaid waivers during the Clinton Administration. Back then, fewer than 3 in 10 Medicaid enrollees were in managed care; today it is closer to 7 out of 10.

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

I’m dedicated to ensuring that all Americans have access to high quality health insurance and high-quality care—especially Americans with lower incomes. This has a lot to do with my family history —  my grandmother suffered a stroke when my father was quite young. The family didn’t have comprehensive insurance, and it took a toll on their financial security. My father used to always tell me how important it was to have good health insurance. That is what motivated me to work to ensure that a family doesn’t experience a financial catastrophe because of an illness.

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

I’d like to spend another year in Germany looking at their health care system, so I could continue to see what the U.S. can learn from the German system. After graduate school, I spent a year in Germany studying their health care system through a fellowship program and was recently back there this past summer for a month to do more studies on the topic.

The German system includes an individual mandate, risk adjustment, a comprehensive set of required benefits, private providers and hospitals, and a robust competitive insurance marketplace. And it’s been that way for more than 135 years. As I pointed out in an op-ed last year, there’s a great deal we can learn from them.

I also want to improve my German language skills—a lot of it came back to me while I was in Germany, but I continue to read detective novels in German in attempts to maintain my skill level.

What do you enjoy doing most with your personal time?

I have two teenage sons, so I enjoy spending my time with them…when they let me! I am also an avid reader and belong to two book clubs. So, I’m constantly reading to keep up—I need to make sure I’m not thrown out! As a runner, my newest endeavor is training for a 10K.

Who is your favorite historical figure and why?

Susan B. Anthony. Right now, I’m fascinated with the women’s suffrage movement, especially considering how long it went on and the immense dedication these women displayed for their cause. Many suffragettes didn’t live to see the 19th amendment enacted. But their legacies live on.

What is your favorite junk food?

No contest: chocolate chip cookies. I try to bake them from scratch, but more often than not, they come straight from the tube. Still just as delicious!

Of what accomplishment are you most proud?

I am immensely proud of the advocacy work ACAP did to fight against the threat of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act in 2017, because the repeal would have meant massive cuts to the Medicaid program. We launched a successful social media campaign, “Medicaid is Us,” which resulted in published op-eds across the country, radio ads, more than 5,000 television spots, and news coverage in a wide array of markets.  Most notably, it generated more than 50,000 letters sent to Senators and Representatives, urging them to oppose cuts to Medicaid. We’re proud of our work to stand up and defend Medicaid.

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

Social determinants of health will continue to be important to ACAP Safety Net Health Plans. Looking after and caring for people’s needs holistically has oftentimes shown cost savings while improving health outcomes. However, many safety net plans utilize their own funds to address social determinants. That’s why our plans are constantly sharing best practices and also thinking creatively about external funding sources so they can sustain the great strides they’re making in addressing the social determinants of health.

Another important issue is churning in the Medicaid program. Every year, millions of people enroll in Medicaid, only to lose their coverage due to lost paperwork or slight changes in income, like receiving overtime pay. It’s been a hot-button issue in the news for the past few months, and likely will continue to be. To reduce the level of churning, there are two bipartisan Congressional bills that propose 12-month continuous eligibility for people that have Medicaid or CHIP. The passage of these bills would be monumental in ensuring people don’t lose their health coverage over minor glitches.

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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