Getting to Know: Jennifer Dexter, Policy Director
Following is a Q&A to get to know Jennifer Dexter, Policy Director, who began working at the National Health Council (NHC) in September 2019.
Putting Patients First (PFF) Blog: Tell us about your career. What led you to the NHC?
Before joining the NHC, I spent two years working on Medicaid program development for Anthem. Before that I spent more than 20 years working on public policy for EasterSeals, focusing on disability rights and specifically access to Medicaid and long-term care for people with disabilities and older adults. EasterSeals was a long-time member of the NHC, so I have known about the amazing work that happens here and the reputation of the NHC for a long time. When the opportunity arose to both get back into policy work and join such a great team, I had to jump on it.
PFF Blog: What upcoming project are you excited about working on?
I think the most interesting thing happening short term is infusing the patient perspective into the drug pricing debate. Making sure that the discussion is focused on what will benefit patients directly and not just the overall financial well being of our health care systems. Longer-term, I think we are entering a new phase of thinking about access to health care in America. Ten years after the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), there are things that can be improved and people who are still uninsured. The NHC is uniquely positioned to influence that debate in favor of patients.
PFF Blog: What makes the NHC different from other organizations?
I think it is the breadth of our membership. The credibility that the NHC has in Washington is derived from the strength and variety of our membership. Our membership allows us to be a voice for all patients and our policy positions can drive real change because of that.
PFF Blog: You’ve worked with Congress to create and strengthen public policy. What are you most proud of accomplishing?
I am probably most proud of the work I have done to bring together the aging and disability advocacy worlds in order to protect and grow access to long-term services and supports under Medicaid. Even though this is a common goal for both communities, for many years everyone was working on their issues and there was not a strong coalition. This collaborative work led to inclusion of long-term services policies in the ACA that people thought would be impossible.
PFF Blog: Tell us about a personal project or hobby of yours.
As the mom of an incredibly busy 14-year-old, he is pretty much my hobby these days. He plays AAU basketball, a sport that I have loved all my life both playing and watching. If I am honest, watching him play is one of my favorite things. Other than that, I am an avid reader and a crossword addict.