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Health Reform: The Start-Up

by Clive Riddle, May 13, 2009

Health Reform, like any start-up, launched a web site ( ) has issued fact sheets and press releases, received another round of angel funding (via the FY2010 budget) and this week announced it has hired a leadership team. Like any start-up, Health Reform has announced Strategic Alliances, this week touting voluntary commitment from six leading health care stakeholder groups to reduce health care costs.

What Health Reform now needs, like any start-up, is customers.

Here’s who the President met with this week, with each of the six stakeholders pledging help reduce health care costs by 1.5%:






  • Mr. Dennis Rivera, Chair, SEIU Healthcare, Service Employees International Union

The participants are now having to fend of skeptics of “voluntary” pledges. At least non were wearing any “WIN” buttons, dusted off from Gerald Fords voluntary “Whip Inflation Now” initiative in 1974.

Here’s who has been appointed by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to serve as key staff members in the new HHS Office of Health Reform:

  • Jeanne Lambrew, Ph.D., Director of the HHS Office of Health Reform, was previously an associate professor at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, and worked on health policy in the Clinton Administration.
  • Michael Hash, Senior Advisor, will run the inter-agency process for developing specific aspects of health reform legislation, and has held senior positions at the Health Care Financing Administration (now CMS) and on the staffs of the House Energy and Commerce Committee as well as a private health policy consulting firm.
  • Neera Tanden, Senior Advisor, will work on developing health care policies for HHS and the Administration, and is the former domestic policy director for the Obama-Biden campaign and policy director for the Hillary Clinton campaign.
  • Linda Douglass, Director of Communications, was a traveling spokesperson for President Obama's 2008 campaign and was chief spokesperson for the Presidential Inaugural Committee 2009, and previously was managing editor for National Journal and prior to that was Chief Capitol Hill Correspondent for ABC News
  • Meena Seshamani, M.D., Ph.D., Director of Policy Analysis, will coordinate the quantitative and qualitative analyses on health reform conducted throughout HHS, and was a resident physician in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at Johns Hopkins University.
  •  Caya B. Lewis, M.P.H., Director of Outreach and Public Health Policy, will coordinate HHS outreach and interaction with stakeholders on health reform, and was the Deputy Staff Director for Health for the Senate HELP committee under the chairmanship of Senator Edward M. Kennedy.
  • Jennifer Cannistra, Policy Analyst and Director of Special Projects previously served as the Pennsylvania State Policy Director for the Obama campaign
  • Karen Richardson, Outreach Coordinator, was previously the policy director at the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
  •  Michael Halle, Special Assistant, worked for the Presidential Inaugural Committee and Obama for America

Reader Comments (1)

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May 14, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAsk the Doctor

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