Meet Annissa McDonald, Health Policy Geek


What are some of the highlights of your career?

Everywhere I’ve worked has honestly been a highlight for me.  One of the most rewarding positions was when I was Associate Director at Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC).  It was really amazing to be on the forefront of health care policy and creating policy that would be rolled out to the rest of the country.  My last 12 years at Healthgrades were also very rewarding because I was working on quality improvement with hospitals and physicians, and really getting in on the ground level in terms of helping providers change the way they practice medicine to create better patient outcomes.

What brought you back to advocacy and government relations after 12 years in a different role? 

I had worked with Jennifer Bell when I was at MedPAC and she was on the Hill.  We have been working together for over 20 years, and we have always had a very great working relationship.  When she learned that I was searching for a new career path, she reached out to me, and that’s how I got to Chamber Hill Strategies.

How has advocacy changed since you were on the Hill?

Advocacy has changed a lot since then.  In one way it hasn’t changed – you still need impassioned people that will help you get your point of view and opinion across to everybody.  That being said, I would say that the partisanship has exponentially grown since then.  20 years ago, there was a lot more working across the aisle and bipartisanship, especially in the House.

What’s some of the best advice you’ve received?

Whenever you pick your job, pick the people as well, because it’s really the people that are going to make your work life fun/tolerable/interesting.  You can’t just look at the job – you have to look at the people and the culture.

Other than health care, what other policy areas are you passionate about?

While it still relates back to health care policy, I do have an interest in things that revolve around socioeconomic policy.  I do find all of that work very interesting.  For example, what solutions can we come up with, and how do we help everyone rise together?

What’s one important question that I haven’t asked you?

What drives you?  What gets you up in the morning and makes you want to go to work?  In all of my career choices, from the very beginning to the end, I’m very service-focused.  I always want whatever I’m doing to help humanity in some little way.  Whatever I’m doing, I want to make sure I’m helping a little bit towards that greater good.

What else should we know about you?

I’m a military brat, so I grew up all over the world.  I’m very into change and into new things and travel.  I’m also an avid skier – I’ve been skiing since I was three, and I just started my two-year-old this year!  My five-year-old is also a skier.  I also love to read – it drives my husband crazy because I always have about 40 books on my bedside table.  He says I’ll never read that many books, but I’ll eventually get through all of those books.

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