As Medicaid Director, MaryAnne is deeply involved in the efforts to expand Medicaid, to raise providers’ pay, to improve access to care, and to design the eligibility changes involved in this fall’s transformation of the health care system. To make it all work, she is relying heavily on Washington’s reputation as a frontrunner in health care policy.
As she puts it: “Washington State has been a leader in reaching out to low-income populations and pursuing a healthier Washington over the years, especially to cover uninsured children and pregnant women. We were a pioneer state for managed care in the 1990s, a cover-all-kids state in the past decade, and we have lately been described as a ‘pace-car state’ in the current era of reform.”
MaryAnne credits NASHP with providing a forum for her to share reform ideas that Washington has found to be effective – and to be inspired by successes in other states. NASHP’s high standards and focus on practical solutions also are key advantages. “These underpinnings give us a framework in which we can test theories, weigh outcomes and calculate solutions to common problems – all things that otherwise would be in danger of simply being forgotten in a temporal world,” she said.
MaryAnne also credits NASHP with creating connections across the nation that promote communication and interaction on the health care reform front. “NASHP is one of the best vehicles I have to keep in touch with policymakers in other states and in the federal government. It is an organization of tremendous energy and strong direction, one that encourages debate and problem solving. It is also a network of thoughtful acquaintances with parallel interests and inspiring backgrounds.”
To learn more about Washington State’s implementation of health care reform, click here.