Experts Share Insights on Current Health Policymaking Priorities

In This Story

People Mentioned in This Story
Alison Cuellar 280x180

Alison Evans Cuellar, professor and director of Health Policy Collaborative, is the moderator for the Health Policy Summer Series


Health Policymaking Priorities Now: the first webinar in the Health Policy Summer Series featured panelists from Capitol Hill, the Virginia Medicaid program, and the Urban Institute.

Composite of the four panelists of the event

On Tuesday, June 1, the Department of Health Administration and Policy Health Policy Collaborative held “Health Policymaking Priorities Now”, the first panel in the Health Policy Summer Series.


Moderated by Alison Cuellar, PhD, professor and director of the Health Policy Collaborative, the panel discussed shifting health policy priorities as COVID-19 cases continue to decline across the country. As the nation approaches post-pandemic status, policymakers on both the Federal and state-level are assessing which COVID-19 related changes will become permanent and which will not. Panelists represented a variety of perspectives:


  • Audrey Smith, senior policy advisor to Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mason alumna, and Stuart Portman, health policy advisor and majority staff member of the Senate Finance Committee, provided their perspectives from Capitol Hill.
  • Dr. Ellen Montz, chief deputy and chief health economist from the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services, delivered her perspective on Medicaid policy in the state.
  • Senior fellow at the Urban Institute, Dr. Jessica Banthin provided simulated data results on the latest trends in health insurance and coverage amidst the current pandemic.

The seminar covered important trends and topics such as:


  • Support for reforms for dually eligible, i.e., Medicare-Medicaid, coverage
  • Assessing vaccine accessibility, particularly for under-served communities
  • Revisiting telehealth policies particularly where Medicaid is ahead of Medicare and for patients in rural areas with low broadband access
  • Achieving health equity and increased access to behavioral health services
  • Examining the data needed to assess the effects of pandemic-related health policy changes
  • Evaluating the long-term impact of making permanent the enhanced insurance subsidies that are part of pandemic response

Future events in the five-part Health Policy Summer Series include:


Tuesday, June 15: 1:00pm-2:00pm EST 
Promoting Housing Stability Through Health Policy


  • Hospitals and Health Systems’ Role in Providing Support for Housing and other Social Determinants of Health: Shira Hollander, Senior Associate Director, Policy Development, American Hospital Association 
  • Encouraging Housing Stability Through Medicaid Managed Care Contracts: Anna Cleveland, Govt. Operations Consultant, Division of Medicaid Policy, Florida Agency for Health Care Administration  
  • View from the Housing Provider on Linkages to Health Systems and Plans: Speakers to be announced

Tuesday, June 29: 1:00pm-2:00pm EST 
City Policy: Forming Unique Partnerships to Improve Health 


  • City Policy and Health: Catherine Patterson, MPP, Co-Executive Director, CityHealth 
  • The Armed Forces’ Role in Community Health Partnerships:  Captain Kimberly Elenberg, RN, DNP, U.S. Department of Defense, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs 
  • Developing Collective Impact in Communities, Approaches and Lessons: William Hazel, MD, Senior Deputy Executive Director, Claude Moore Foundation