Minneapolis, MN – United States of Care (US of Care), a national non-profit which aims for every American to have quality, affordablae health care, announced the hire today of Allison O’Toole as Director of State Affairs, joining the leadership team of Executive Director Emily Barson and Director of Public Affairs Tom Kise.
Executive Director Emily Barson has spent over fifteen years on the front lines of political, governmental, and non-profit efforts and has built coalitions and political movements that deliver meaningful results, working with states and other stakeholders.
Barson spent eight years at the Department of Health and Human Services during the Obama Administration, most recently as one of the lead representatives from the Administration working with states on a variety of issues, including Medicaid expansion and enrollment in Affordable Care Act health coverage. As Director of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, she led the Department’s interactions with state, local, and tribal governments; and external stakeholders overall.
She later served as a senior advisor with Get America Covered, a national campaign to help people get covered and stay covered in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Prior to joining the Administration, Emily worked on numerous political campaigns, including in Pennsylvania for President Obama’s campaign in 2008 and two stints at the Democratic National Committee.
“Emily is a seasoned health care leader who understands all the ingredients necessary to deliver meaningful results for Americans and their families. She is assembling a talented team with the passion, commitment, and expertise to get every American covered and improve the affordability of health care,” said US of Care board chair Andy Slavitt. “She has proven time and again that she can create a successful culture and work across the political divide.”
Director of State Affairs Allison O’Toole joins US of Care from MNsure, the Minnesota insurance exchange, where she served as CEO for the last three years. O’Toole led the organization through three years of record-breaking enrollment, improved customer service, increased system stability, and worked effectively with lawmakers and agencies across the state. In addition, she was responsible for driving their marketing campaign, developing the strategic overhaul of the MNsure outreach and enrollment grants program, building a staff, and creating operational stability.
Prior to her time at MNsure, O’Toole was a director at a Minneapolis-based public affairs firm and state director for U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar.
“Allison is a proven leader, and we are excited to have her lead our effort to help states cover more of their residents through innovative health care programs,” said Executive Director Emily Barson. “She has developed a national reputation for her work to expand affordable health care options to all Americans.”
Director of Public Affairs Tom Kise has nearly two decades of communications and external affairs experience in the political, government, and public affairs sectors.
During his career, Kise founded his own boutique public affairs firm in addition to working for the DCI Group and Hamilton Place Strategies. Throughout his career, Kise worked on numerous political campaigns including the 2008 Presidential campaign for Senator John McCain and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s reelection campaign. In addition, he has worked in state government as Communications Director for both Virginia House of Delegates Majority Leader Morgan Griffith and California State Senator Abel Maldonado.
Kise’s personal commitment to accessing affordable health care stems from his own experience as a Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma cancer survivor, and subsequent volunteer work with the Leukemia Lymphoma Society (LLS).
“Tom brings a wealth of diverse experience and creativity to the role of Director of Public Affairs,” said Barson. “His ability to make sure the human impact of public policy is prominent in our efforts will be a key part of getting health care to all Americans.”