Health Policy: A Review of the First 100 Days of the Trump Administration

With the withdrawal of the American Health Care Act, the latest chapter in our century-old debate about the appropriate role of the US government in health care has been written but we still don't know how the story ends. The Affordable Care Act is still the law of the land but President Trump assures us that "Obamacare will explode".  Will the Affordable Care Act explode? Will it be blown up by saboteurs? What are the shortcomings of the Affordable Care Act that need to be addressed if it is to remain the law of the land? What are the vulnerable points in the Affordable Care Act where those focused on its destruction can attack? Will the Trump Administration be able to woo the Freedom Caucus into another “repeal and replace” package? Will Secretary Price really read all 1,442 sections of the Affordable Care Act that provide flexibility to his office? And, how did the single-payer approach emerge out of the ‘fog of war” to become a point of discussion again?

We hope you can join the Michigan Health Policy Forum on May 1 as our panel of experts discuss these and many other questions that Michigan will face in the coming months.



1:00 PM Welcome: Randolph Rasch, PhD, RN, FAANP, Dean, MSU College of Nursing

1:15 PM Keynote Address: Gail Wilensky, PhD, Senior Fellow, Project HOPE

                "What We Have Learned in the First 100 Days of the Trump Administration"

2:15 PM Refreshment Break

2:30 PM Michigan Reactor Panel

                Moderator: Mr. Steve Fitton, Principal, Health Management Associates

                Hospitals: Mr. James “Chip” Falahee Jr., Senior VP, Bronson Healthcare Group

                Consumers: Ms. Gilda Jacobs, President, Michigan League for Public Policy

                Insurance: Ms. Marti Lolli, MBA, Senior Vice President, Priority Health

                Physicians: James C. Mitchiner, MD, MPH, Medical Director, Michigan Peer Review Organization

                Medicaid: Mr. Chris Priest, Deputy Director, Medical Services, MDHHS

3:30 PM Audience Question and Answer Session

4:00 PM Concluding Remarks: Mr. Dennis Paradis



Gail R. Wilensky, Ph.D.

Senior Fellow, Project HOPE

wilenskyGail R. Wilensky, Ph.D. is an economist and senior fellow at Project HOPE, an international health foundation. She directed the Medicare and Medicaid programs and served in the White House as a senior adviser on health and welfare issues to President GHW Bush. She was also the first chair of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. Her expertise is on strategies to reform health care, with particular emphasis on Medicare, comparative effectiveness research and military health care.


Dr. Wilensky currently serves as a trustee of the Combined Benefits Fund of the United Mine Workers of America and the National Opinion Research Center, is on the Board of Regents of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) and the Board of Directors of the Geisinger Health System Foundation, United Health Group, Quest Diagnostics and Brainscope. She is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine, served two terms on its governing council and currently chairs the Healthcare Servicing Board. She is a former chair of the board of directors of Academy Health, a former trustee of the American Heart Association and a current or former director of numerous other non-profit organizations. Dr. Wilensky testifies frequently before Congressional committees, serves as an adviser to members of Congress and other elected officials, and speaks nationally and internationally. She received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Ph.D. in economics at the University of Michigan and has received several honorary degrees.

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Mr. Steve Fitton

Principal, Health Management Associates

fittonInnovation is the hallmark of Steve Fitton’s 40-plus years of public sector health policy experience.

Steve has extensive expertise in Medicaid financing, federal waivers and reinventing healthcare delivery systems. As Michigan’s Medicaid director, he oversaw a budget of more than $15 billion with programs that served over two million residents. Steve played a key leadership role in the approval and implementation of the Healthy Michigan program, the state’s expansion of Medicaid.

Steve led the creation and implementation of several Medicaid programs and initiatives to improve access and quality of care while increasing efficiencies and lowering costs. He initiated Michigan’s dual-eligibles demonstration program, played a prominent role in multiple stakeholder forums, and oversaw each phase of development. His leadership spurred such initiatives as the extension of managed care to special populations, numerous quality improvement efforts, implementation of a new MMIS system which is now becoming available to the State of Illinois Medicaid program, and expansion of the Healthy Kids Dental program.

During his career, Steve has served in multiple leadership roles for Michigan’s Medicaid program. As director of the state’s Bureau of Medicaid Policy and Actuarial Services, he oversaw Medicaid policy and critical rate setting and financial analysis functions and played a lead role in developing federal waivers, negotiating the state plan and managing the state-federal relationship. As director of the department’s actuarial division, he oversaw all actuarial and rate-setting functions for Medicaid and other programs, such as Children’s Special Health Care Services and the State Medical Program, as well as provider tax and intergovernmental transfer programs.

Steve worked 20 years in Michigan’s Children’s Special Health Care Services program which arranged and paid for health care services to over 20,000 children with special health care needs each year. The program maintained an unwavering commitment to quality and consumer participation. During this period, Steve helped formulate a plan for a specially designed managed care program for special needs children. This resulted in boutique HMOs which became operational. This experience in maternal and child health equips Steve to be a bridge between it, public health and Medicaid with an understanding of each of those often completely separate worlds.

He earned his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and has completed graduate coursework in public administration and research and evaluation.

Steve loves sports, reading and traveling, but what he now enjoys more than anything is hanging out with his four granddaughters who are way too much fun. 


Mr. James “Chip” Falahee Jr.

Senior Vice President, Legal and Legislative Affairs

falaheeJames “Chip” Falahee is Senior Vice President, Legal & Legislative Affairs for Bronson Healthcare Group. He has more than 35 years of experience in healthcare law and legislation and has been named one of the “Best Lawyers in America” in healthcare. He is a frequent speaker about healthcare policy and reform. Mr. Falahee is a founding member, past president and a Fellow of the Health Care Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan and past president of the Michigan Society of Hospital Attorneys.

Mr. Falahee is one of two hospital representatives on the state’s Certificate of Need Commission. He served as Chairman of the Commission from 2011 to 2014.

He is a board member of the Michigan Health & Hospital Association.

He is a board member of 340B Health, an organization of over 1,000 public and private non-profit hospitals and health systems throughout the U.S. that participate in the 340B drug discount program.

Locally, he is the President of the Board of Directors of Family and Children Services.

Ms. Gilda Jacobs, President

Michigan League for Public Policy

jacobsGilda Z. Jacobs has served as president & CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy since 2011, following a 30-year career in public service at the local, county and state levels. Gilda has won numerous awards for her work, including being named as one of the 100 Most Influential Women in Michigan by Crain’s Detroit Business in 2016 and receiving the Michigan Food Bank Council’s Hunger-Free Award in 2015. In 2012, she participated in the Harvard Business School’s Strategic Perspectives in the Nonprofit Leadership Program. Gilda served in the state Senate for eight years after serving two terms in the Michigan House of Representatives where she made history as the first woman floor leader in either chamber of the Legislature. Prior to serving in the Legislature, she served as an Oakland County Commissioner and a Huntington Woods City Commissioner.

In addition to her civic leadership, Jacobs served as Development Director for JARC, a Jewish association providing residential care for persons with developmental disabilities. She also worked as a special education teacher in the Madison School District. Jacobs received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Michigan.


Ms. Marti Lolli

Senior Vice President, Commercial Markets

priestMarti Lolli is senior vice president of commercial markets at Priority Health, a nationally recognized health plan. She oversees commercial group sales, the individual strategic business unit, commercial product development, the wellness department, market intelligence and the South East Michigan region leadership.

Lolli’s areas of expertise include consumerism in health care, market trends in health care, competitive and consumer analytics, healthcare innovation and strategic planning.

Work experience

Since joining Priority Health in 2000, Lolli has managed market and product strategy, market intelligence, regulatory compliance and implementation for B2B and B2C market segments. She also successfully led the introduction of new products and expansion into new business segments related to individual, employer group and Medicare product suites.

Since 2010, Lolli has led more than 30 webinars on health reform topics. She has been an invited speaker to more than 200 events in Michigan. In addition, she serves as an advisor to state and national associations working in both Lansing and Washington, D.C. on implementation of the ACA.

Community involvement

Lolli currently services as a board member on the Lakeshore Junior Achievement Organization.


MBA, Grand Valley State University
Allendale, Michigan

BS, Hillsdale College
Hillsdale, Michigan

James C. Mitchiner, MD, MPH

Medical Director, Michigan Peer Review Organization


Current Positions:

Attending Physician, Emergency Department, St. Joseph Mercy Hospital, Ann Arbor,

Michigan, 1988-

Staff Physician, Emergency Department, St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea Hospital, Chelsea,

Michigan, 1996-

Clinical Faculty, University of Michigan / St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Emergency

Medicine Residency Program, 1991-

Medical Director, Michigan Peer Review Organization (MPRO), 2008-

Senior Partner, Emergency Physicians Medical Group, Ann Arbor Michigan, 2011 -


Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, 1971-1975

Majors:  Biomedical Engineering and Pre-Medicine

B.S.M.E., awarded May 16, 1975

B.S. with Honors (Biology), awarded May 16, 1975

University of Illinois College of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, 1975-1979

Doctor of Medicine, awarded June 1, 1979

University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1994-1996

Master of Public Health, awarded December 20, 1996

Program: Health Management and Policy (On Job/On Campus Program)

Postgraduate Medical Training:

Internship in General Surgery, Cook County Hospital and University of Illinois Hospital, Chicago, Illinois; July 1, 1979 to June 30, 1980

Resident in General Surgery, Cook County Hospital and University of Illinois Hospital, Chicago, Illinois; July 1, 1980 to June 30, 1981

Residency in Emergency Medicine, Denver General Hospital - St. Anthony Hospital - St. Joseph Hospital, Denver, Colorado; July 1, 1981 to June 30, 1983

Mr. Chris Priest

Deputy Director, Medical Services, MDHHS, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

priestChris Priest is deputy director for Medical Services with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). In this role, Priest also serves as Michigan’s Medicaid director overseeing several health care programs, including MIChild and the Healthy Michigan Plan.

Priest comes to MDHHS after working most recently as Governor Rick Snyder’s deputy director of Strategy, where he advised the Governor on various issues, including health care and insurance. Previously, he served as the director of the Bureau of Medicaid Policy and Health System Innovation in the former Michigan Department of Community Health, which was responsible for many aspects of the Medicaid program and several health reform issues, and as the project manager involved with the health insurance exchange in the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

Prior to these appointments, Priest served in the State of Michigan’s Washington D.C. office under former Governor Jennifer M. Granholm, served governors from the State of Indiana, worked with private sector clients on health policy, and worked in the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.

Chris holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from George Mason University in Virginia and a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Affairs from Indiana University.