Raimondo’s Interim HHS Boss to Resurrect UHIP Oversaw Failed VT Healthcare System

Thursday, February 16, 2017


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Anya Rader Wallack (Photo: LinkedIn)

On Wednesday, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo announced she tapped former Healthsource RI Director Anya Rader Wallack to help save the state's beleaguered UHIP system, while the state conducts a search for a permanent replacement of outgoing HHS Secretary Elizabeth Roberts.

Wallack, however, came to Rhode Island under a cloud of controversy from Vermont. 

As GoLocal reported in January 2015, Raimondo's Choice for HealthSource RI Failed in Vermont

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo's replacement of Christy Ferguson at HealthSource RI -- Anya Rader Wallack -- comes from the recently failed single-payer effort in Vermont, which has come under national scrutiny for its demise.

“We can move full speed ahead with what we need without knowing where the money’s coming from,” assured Anya Rader-Wallack in 2012 as Vermont Governor Shumlin’s Special Counsel for Health Care Reform. The comment was cited by Forbes' Avik Roy in "Six Reasons Why Vermont's Single Payer Plan Was Doomed from the Start," on December 21 [2014].

In that piece, GoLocal reported on Wallack's prior Rhode Island ties, as she had worked as a health policy analysis consultant for the Office of the Rhode Island Health Insurance Commissioner from 2006 to 2009. 

Latest in Revolving Door, Endorsed by Roberts

The move is the latest in a series of quick successions for Wallack -- who had received the glowing praise of now-ousted Health and Human Services Secretary Elizabeth Roberts. 

Wallack's timeline:

Less than a year after taking the Healthsource post early in 2015, Raimondo tapped Wallack to then be the state's Director of Medicaid in October 2015. 

And less than a year after taking that post, Wallack left state government to take a position at Brown University in August 2016. The Providence Journal reported Roberts' statement on Wallack's departure. 

"Throughout her career, Anya has been a tireless advocate for delivering better, more affordable care," Elizabeth Roberts, secretary of the state Department of Health and Human Services, said in announcing her departure. "She stepped up to lead our Medicaid program during a pivotal period and has positioned us for continued success as we work to implement a comprehensive, progressive package of reforms. These initiatives are expanding access to high-quality healthcare and achieving millions in savings – all without reducing benefits or cutting eligibility for the one in four Rhode Islanders enrolled in Medicaid. I am deeply grateful for Anya's leadership of this effort, and know she will remain a valuable resource to the State in her new capacity at Brown.''



Related Slideshow: UHIP Assessment Report to Governor Raimondo


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