Frederick Isasi was selected to be Families USA’s second-ever Executive Director in January 2017 because of his life-long commitment to achieving high-quality, affordable health care for all. He also brings to his position deep expertise in Medicaid, Medicare, and private health insurance, health equity, and payment and delivery reform. In addition, he has a proven track record of working effectively in a bipartisan manner with policymakers at the national and state levels. Mr. Isasi’s skills and experiences made him the ideal choice to lead Families USA into the future as the premier voice for all families and health care consumers in America.
As Executive Director, Mr. Isasi leads the expert staff at Families USA as the organization focuses on four key challenges: Creating a value-based health system that ensures higher-quality, lower cost health care; Helping people overcome barriers to health and health care based on race, ethnicity, income, gender, demography, or sexual orientation; Making comprehensive and affordable health insurance available to all; and Empowering health care consumers to ensure that their voices are heard in their state and local communities as well as in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Isasi’s passion for health care reform began when he was growing up in North Carolina as the son of Cuban immigrants. There, he saw firsthand many of the barriers to health care experienced by the poor, people of color, people with language barriers, and rural communities. In his 20s, Mr. Isasi was a leader of various gay rights and AIDS/HIV student organizations. He also founded a volunteer organization that provided support to the children of parents dying from AIDS and a summer camp for children with HIV/AIDS in North Carolina and Wisconsin.
Before joining Families USA, Mr. Isasi served as the Health Division Director at the bipartisan National Governors Association’s (NGA) Center for Best Practices. In this position, he worked directly with governors of both parties and as NGA’s national voice on issues such as health care delivery and payment reform, improving Medicaid, and health exchange planning and oversight. He also directed technical assistance for states as they navigated changes to their health care systems.
Prior to NGA, Mr. Isasi served as Vice President for Health Policy at the Advisory Board Company—a leading national and international private-sector group that advises 3,100 hospitals, health systems, provider groups, and payers—where he founded its Health Policy Department. Under Mr. Isasi’s leadership, the Advisory Board sought new opportunities to leverage the power of health system data and develop evidence-based policy solutions to modern health care challenges. He also broadened the Advisory Board’s work with policymakers in Congress, the Administration, and states to improve health care transformation efforts across the nation.
As Congress was beginning to develop the groundbreaking Affordable Care Act legislation, Mr. Isasi served as Senior Legislative Counsel for Health Care on both the U.S. Senate Finance Committee and Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) for former Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), the only Democrat serving on both committees during the creation of the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Isasi was the Senator’s principal negotiator during closed-door, bipartisan negotiations. He also served as the Senator’s advisor and chief negotiator on the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Reauthorization Act of 2009 and various Medicare bills, and directed the Senator’s leadership efforts to address the health care challenges brought on by low-income, cultural, and racial disparities.
Earlier in his career, Mr. Isasi served as a health care attorney with Powell Goldstein, where he worked closely with states on Medicaid reforms and represented public hospitals; prior to that, he served as Senior Policy Advisor to the District of Columbia Primary Care Association.
Mr. Isasi is a well-known and respected national speaker on Medicaid, state innovation, health system transformation, behavioral health, and the social determinants of health as well as health care quality, payment, and equity issues. He has served on myriad expert panels and boards, including the National Academy of Medicine, Brookings Institution, National Committee for Quality Assurance, Duke University Margolis Center for Health Policy, Catalyst for Payment Reform, and Bipartisan Policy Center. He holds a JD from Duke University, where he was a Pamela B. Gann Scholar and a staff editor of the Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy, an M.P.H. from the University of North Carolina, where he was inducted into both the Delta Omega and the Frank Porter Graham honor societies, and a B.S. in Cellular Biology and a second major in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin, where he was a Powers-Knapp Scholar.