With polls showing Hillary Clinton with a big lead in the Nov. 8 election, Democratic political insiders are looking ahead. They say she will quickly name people to top health policy positions who are diverse in gender, race, and ethnicity, have sharp administrative skills, and can work in a bipartisan way.
“If there are opportunities for bipartisanship, Hillary would be well-served to think through whether her key appointments in healthcare would help promote that bipartisanship,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a liberal advocacy group.
Names floated as likely contenders for HHS secretary, CMS administrator and other key posts include former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Neera Tanden, Chris Jennings, Clinton policy adviser Ann O'Leary, surgeon and author Dr. Atul Gawande, and outgoing Robert Wood Johnson Foundation CEO Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey. While some hope Sylvia Mathews Burwell will continue on as HHS secretary, that's considered unlikely.
Stabilizing the Affordable Care Act's struggling insurance exchanges will top the list of challenges Clinton's healthcare team will need to tackle quickly. They'll also have to lead the tricky implementation of the new Medicare physician payment system, accelerate the use of value-based payment, manage Medicaid expansion and reforms through negotiations with states, find ways to control rising prescription drug costs, and guide the implementation of the Precision Medicine Initiative and Cancer Moonshot.