Fall 2017 Forum

RFP: Bold and Innovative Ideas for Medicaid


salo Matt Salo was named Executive Director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) in February 2011. The newly formed association represents all 56 of the nation’s state and territorial Medicaid Directors, and provides them with a strong unified voice in national discussions as well as a locus for technical assistance and best practices.

Matt formerly spent 12 years at the National Governors Association, where he worked on the Governors’ health care and human services reform agendas, and spent the 5 years prior to that as a health policy analyst working for the state Medicaid Directors as part of the American Public Human Services Association.

Matt also spent two years as a substitute teacher in the public school system in Alexandria, VA, and holds a BA in Eastern Religious Studies from the University of Virginia.


  • 1:00 PM Welcome: Norman J. Beauchamp Jr, MD, MHS, Dean, MSU College of Human Medicine
  • 1:15 PM Keynote Address: Mr. Matt Salo, Executive Director, National Association of Medicaid Directors
  • "Report from the Laboratories of Democracy”
  • 2:30 PM Refreshment Break
  • 2:45 PM Michigan Reactor Panel
  • Moderator: Dominick Pallone,Executive Director, Michigan Association of Health Plans
  • Eric Lupher, President, Citizens Research Council of Michigan
  • Chris Priest, Deputy Director, Medical Services, MDHHS
  • Senator Mike Shirkey, Chair, Michigan Senate Committee on Health Policy
  • Vernon Smith, Senior Advisor, Health Management Associates
  • 3:30 PM Audience Question and Answer Session
  • 4:00 PM Concluding Remarks: Mr. Dennis Paradis, Executive Director, Michigan Health Policy Forum



Dominick Pallone


Executive Director

Michigan Association of Health Plans

Dominick Pallone is the Executive Director for the Michigan Association of Health Plans (MAHP), a Lansing based organization that represents 13 health plans in Michigan. Prior to joining MAHP, Dominick was a Partner at Midwest Strategy Group, a multi-client lobby firm where he specialized in health care, state appropriations, Medicaid, higher education, transportation, and state procurement. He has also served as staff within the state House and Senate, most notably as Committee Clerk for the Senate Appropriations Committee and the Joint Capital Outlay Subcommittee. Currently, Dominick volunteers his time by serving on the

Board of the Michigan Transportation Connection and was appointed by Governor Snyder to the Michigan Municipal Services Authority Board.

Dominick earned his Bachelor’s Degree in International Relations from Michigan State University, James

Madison College. During his academic years, he served on the NCAA Student Athlete Advisory Council representing Division 1 student-athletes.

Eric W. Lupher


Eric has been President of the Citizens Research Council since September of 2014. He has been with the CRC since 1987, the first two years as a Lent Upson-Loren Miller Fellow, and since then as a Research Associate and, later, as Director of Local Affairs. Eric has researched such issues as state taxes, state revenue sharing, highway funding, unemployment insurance, economic development incentives, and stadium funding. His recent work focused on local government matters, including intergovernmental cooperation, governance issues, and municipal finance. Eric is a past president of the Governmental Research Association and also served as vice-chairman of the Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council (GASAC), an advisory body for the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB), representing the user community on behalf of the Governmental Research Association.

Eric holds a B.A. in International Relations from James Madison College at Michigan State University and a Masters in Public Administration from Wayne State University.

Chris Priest

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


Chris 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.


shirkey Senator Mike Shirkey


Shirkey serves as chair of the Senate Health Policy and Michigan Competitiveness committees, and is a member of the Elections and Government Reform and Energy and Technology committees. He also serves as the vice-chair for the Appropriations subcommittee for Community Health.


Shirkey earned a bachelor’s degree from General Motors Institute (GMI) in 1978, and a master of science in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1979.


Mike is the founder and owner of Orbitform, a leading engineering company that manufactures forming, fastening, joining and assembly equipment for a wide range of industries and applications. The company provides world-class prototype engineering services for assembly of parts and specialized forming and fastening. Mike also worked for General Motors in various management and engineering roles for 13 years.


Mike served on the Columbia Central School Board in the 1980s and ’90s. Shirkey also is the past board chair of Allegiance Health System.


Mike is the proud father of three and devoted husband of 42 years to Sue. Mike and Sue also have several grandchildren. He is an active member of the Jackson Free Methodist Church, and leads major construction/expansion projects. Mike also enjoys hunting, fishing, golfing and working out. He is also an avid woodworker in “grandpa’s workshop.”

shirkey Vern K. Smith PhD

Senior Advisor - Lansing MI

Vern Smith is a nationally lauded expert in Medicaid, Medicare, CHIP, state budgets and trends in the health care marketplace. He has authored numerous reports on current issues in Medicaid and CHIP, state strategies for containing health care costs and improving quality, and state preparations for the health reform.

Vern has presented before many national and state audiences, including the National Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Council of State Governments, the National Association of State Budget Officers, the National Association of State Medicaid Directors, the National Health Policy Forum, committees of the U.S. Congress, and Medicaid reform groups in several states.

He has been a guest on National Public Radio and is an often quoted public health policy expert for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek and USA Today.

Vern had a distinguished 30-year public service career, serving as Michigan Medicaid director and as budget director for the human services agency.

Vern holds a PhD in economics from Michigan State University. He serves on the board of trustees of Anderson University, his undergraduate alma mater.

Reports & Resources

  1. Medicaid Moving Ahead in Uncertain Times: Results from a 50-State Medicaid Budget Survey for State Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018
  2. Budget Stress
  3. Challenges Ahead in Balancing State Budget
  4. 5 Options for States to Respond to Medicaid Per Capita Caps
  5. A Health Care Issue Democrats and Republicans Can Agree On?
  6. Absent Federal Action, States Take The Lead On Curbing Drug Costs
  7. Democrats' 'Better Deal' would penalize drug price hikes
  8. Dems Unveil Plan To Curb Prescription Drug Price Increases
  9. Do Pharma's Claims On Drug Prices Pass The Smell Test? We Found 5 Stinkers
  10. Senator to Gov. Snyder- Why is Michigan spending so much on Medicaid? - from Detroit Free Press
  11. State Sues Oxycontin
  12. The Commonwealth Fund - Cost Sharing Reductions
  13. Drug industry on tenterhooks as Maryland price-gouging law nears
  14. Everyone Says We Must Control Exorbitant Drug Prices. So, Why Don’t We?
  15. Forum Resources
  16. HMA Weekly Roundup- Highlights from HMA Conference on Future of Medicaid
  17. JAMA Forum- Long-term Care- Investing in Models That Work
  18. Preserving Medicaid and Reducing Medicaid Spending
  19. Los Angeles Times- Yes, we can lower sky-high drug prices — other countries have done it
  20. Louisiana considers radical step to counter high drug prices- Federal intervention from The Washington Post
  21. Maryland law that punishes generic price gouging can proceed
  22. Are Section 1115 Waivers A Panacea For Draconian Medicaid Funding Reductions?
  23. State Single Payer And Medicaid Buy-In- A Look At California, New York, And Nevada
  24. Rising Price of Old Drugs Costs Medicaid Billions
  25. Section 1332 State Innovation Waivers- Current Status and Potential Changes - Issue Brief
  26. States See Opportunities for Flexibility in the ACA’s Innovation Waiver Program
  27. The War on Medicaid Is Moving to the States
  28. To lower costs, Massachusetts seeks to limit Medicaid drug coverage
  29. Woefully incomplete’ universal health bill dead for the year in California
  30. Gov. Brown signs drug pricing transparency bill
  31. New Law Challenges ‘Evils’ Of Pharma Profits, California Governor Claims
  32. Editorial: Take honest look at Medicaid costs
  33. Medicaid Payment and Delivery System Reform: Early Insights from 10 Medicaid Expansion States
  34. Gilead says drug profits must stay high to pay for 'innovation,' but 100% of its profits went to shareholders
  35. Medicaid Moving Ahead in Uncertain Times: Results from a 50-State Medicaid Budget Survey for State Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018
  36. 50-State Survey Finds Medicaid Enrollment Growth Slowing, with an Uptick in Spending Growth Driven by Provider Rate Increases and Rising Costs for Rx Drugs and Long-Term Care
  37. Trump promises action on drug prices
  38. Trump health official Seema Verma has a plan to slash Medicaid rolls. Here’s how
  39. No Limit: Medicare Part D Enrollees Exposed to High Out-of-Pocket Drug Costs Without a Hard Cap on Spending
  40. States seek to expand lawsuit against generic drugmakers
  41. Medicaid Payment and Delivery System Reform: Early Insights from 10 Medicaid Expansion States
  42. Flurry Of Federal And State Probes Target Insulin Drugmakers And Pharma Middlemen
  43. Trump health official Seema Verma has a plan to slash Medicaid rolls. Here’s how
  44. Gilead says drug profits must stay high to pay for 'innovation,' but 100% of its profits went to shareholders
  45. New Law Challenges ‘Evils’ Of Pharma Profits, California Governor Claims
  46. Gov. Brown signs drug pricing transparency bill
  47. Editorial: Take honest look at Medicaid costs