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Press Release

Twenty-One New Health Care Leaders Join United States of Care Founder’s Council

Published On March 1, 2019

Washington, D.C.United States of Care, a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring that every American has access to affordable health care, announced the addition of a new class of 21 new Founder’s Council members, who will join the organization’s 71 current leadership members. These members represent leading patients, clinicians, policymakers, public health advocates, inventors, and professionals from across the health care industry. The Founder’s Council brings a set of unmatched expertise that can be deployed in United States of Care’s work to help build long-lasting, nonpartisan solutions to increase access to affordable health care.

Current Founder’s Council members include a diverse set of prominent leaders including Mark Cuban, First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray, author and noted surgeon Dr. Atul Gawande, Dr. Don Berwick, Gov. Mike Leavitt, actor and advocate Pete Davidson, and patient advocate Elena Hung, founder of Little Lobbyists.

“We are proud that an increasingly diverse set of Americans is volunteering to become part of transforming the U.S. health care system. Where this will make the most difference is in immediately being able to bring credible and expert voices on the ground to help make the work of improving health care for people go much more rapidly,” said Emily Barson, Executive Director.

Barson added, “Many of the new Founder’s Council class like Senator Baucus or Congressmen Dent and Lance are well known, largely for putting policy before politics and getting things done. But I’m especially proud that among our new members are a leading disability rights advocate, a foremost expert on all-payer health care, former senior state and federal health officials, consumer advocates, a leader in the movement to improve clinical diversity, a champion of integrated medicine, and a leader of one of the world’s best cancer centers. I’m blown away by the diversity of voices and expertise we can draw from as USofCare continues our work to find solutions to our current health care crisis.”

The United States of Care Founder’s Council members engage with United States of Care and its work individually or in groups, not as a single body, with no policymaking, voting, or governance responsibility. While they endorse United States of Care’s principles of ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable health care, they are not set up to review and endorse the policies of the states that United States of Care supports.

Hon. Max Baucus: Baucus served as senator from Montana from 1978-2014, when he was appointed as ambassador to China. While in the Senate, he was chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Finance, and was one of the chief architects of the Affordable Care Act.

Tom Betlach: Betlach is the former director of the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), where he oversaw expansion of the state’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act and served as president of the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD).

Esther Choo, M.D., M.P.H.: Choo is an associate professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health and Science University. She is also a founder of Equity Quotient, a company that measures detailed equity metrics in the health care workplace.

Hon. Charlie Dent: Dent served as representative for Pennsylvania’s 15th congressional district from 2005-2018, and was chairman of the House Committee on Ethics from 2015-2017. He was also a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee.

Valerie Nurr’araaluk Davidson: Davidson is the former lieutenant governor of Alaska. Previously, she served as senior director of legal & intergovernmental affairs for the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, and as chair of the Tribal Technical Advisory Group to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for ten years. She also served as commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services.

Bill George: George is Senior Fellow at Harvard Business School and serves on the Board of Directors of Goldman Sachs. He previously served as chairman and CEO of Medtronic. George has been a trustee of the Mayo Clinic and has served as board chair for Allina Health System, Abbott-Northwestern Hospital, United Way of the Greater Twin Cities, and Advamed.

Penny George, Psy. D.: George is board chair of the George Family Foundation. She is also co-founder of the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing at Allina Health and serves on the board of its foundation. She is also co-founder of Sellergren-George Consulting Psychologists and The Bravewell Collaborative.

Dennis Heaphy: Heaphy is a national advocate for the health care needs of people with disabilities, in particular those who are dually-eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. In addition to his role as health justice advocate at the Disability Policy Consortium, he serves as co-chair of Disability Advocates Advancing our Healthcare Rights (DAAHR), and chair of the Massachusetts One Care Implementation Council and vice chair of the Massachusetts DSRIP DSRIC committee. Dennis also serves on the advisory committee to the National Center for Complex Care and Social Needs.

Bill Kramer, M.B.A.: Kramer is executive director for health policy at the Pacific Business Group on Health. He was previously a senior executive with Kaiser Permanente for over 20 years.

Bob Kocher, M.D.: Kocher is a partner at Venrock and focuses on healthcare IT and tech-enabled services investments and an adjunct professor of medicine at Stanford. He previously served in the Obama Administration as special assistant to the President for healthcare and economic policy on the National Economic Council.

Sarah Krevans: Krevans is president and CEO of Sutter Health, a not-for-profit health system based in northern California. She previously served as senior vice president and served as an executive at Kaiser Permanente and as deputy director of Maine’s Bureau of Medical Services and acting director of Medicaid, health planning, and licensure programs.

Hon. Leonard Lance: Lance served as representative for New Jersey’s 7th congressional district from 2009-2019.

Alan Levine: Levine is executive chairman, president and CEO of Ballad Health. Previously, he served as secretary of Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals and as senior health policy adviser to Gov. Bobby Jindal. He also served as secretary of Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, senior health policy adviser and deputy chief of staff to Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. He currently serves on the Florida Board of Governors.

Janice E. Nevin, M.D., M.P.H.: Nevin is president and CEO of Christiana Care Health System, the largest health system in Delaware. She is nationally recognized for innovation in patient- and family-centered care and population health.

Peter W.T. Pisters, M.D., M. H. C. M.: Pisters is president of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He has served the institution in faculty and leadership positions for more than 20 years, and is renowned as a cancer surgeon, researcher, professor, and hospital administrator.

Mina Schultz, M.P.H.: Schultz is an outreach specialist with GetCoveredNYC, and a recent graduate from George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. Since surviving cancer herself at the age of 25, she has dedicated her personal and professional time to ensuring that all Americans have health coverage.

Josh Sharfstein, M.D.: Sharfstein is professor of the practice in health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he serves as vice dean for public health practice and community engagement and director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative. Previously, he served as the secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the principal deputy commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

Nicole Smith-Holt: Smith-Holt is a patient advocate and co-chair of the Minnesota Prescription Drug Task Force. Her work aims to lower the cost of prescription drugs, especially insulin.

Nick Turkal, M.D.: Turkal is the president and CEO of Advocate Aurora Health, the 10th largest not-for-profit, integrated health system in the United States. He continues to practice as a family medicine physician.

Vikki Wachino: Wachino is principal of Viaduct Consulting, LLC. She was formerly deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services at CMS, and has also served in leadership roles at the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and the Office of Management and Budget.

Cindy Zeldin: Zeldin is a health policy and advocacy professional, based in Atlanta. She previously served as the first executive director of Georgians for a Healthy Future, a statewide health advocacy organization.