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University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law - Summer 2014

a big change,” he adds. “Equally important is the regulatory upheaval underway. The entire health care industry is going from something that largely was regulated at the state level—except for Medicare and Medicaid—to something with significant federal involvement in how the industry is structured, how payments are made.” The fact that the Affordable Care Act has left much unfinished business will also have a ripple effect, Kelso predicts. “It’s quite clear there’s follow-up work to be done to impose greater cost controls,” he says. “It also seems likely at some point that there’s going to be reform in the areas of drugs and pharmaceuticals. All of this comes amid massive reorganization in the health care industry, which is witnessing a huge number of mergers, acquisitions and reorganizations.” With such high-impact ongoing developments, Kelso emphasizes that the bottom line for McGeorge is clear: “There’s going to be a substantially increased need for lawyers educated in health law and related areas, and there’s going to be a need for more scholarship and leadership in developing the field.” Leveraging the Right Place, Forging the Right Plan Pacific McGeorge is well positioned to take on this challenge and meet this need creatively. Dating back to the upsurge of HMOs in the 1970s, California has been at the center of cutting-edge thinking about health care reform. Northern California is the home of the biotech industry, in which technology is remaking medicine. Movers and shakers in the state capital, including Pacific McGeorge, are + When Political Affairs Meet Policy APRIL ALEXANDER, ’04, DEVELOPS RELATIONSHIPS WITH POLITICIANS, STAKEHOLDERS AND OTHERS WHILE ADVOCATING FOR LOW-INCOME POPULATIONS Alexander has been paying close attention to the vagaries of the Affordable Care Act, including the Supreme Court’s confirmation of states’ right to opt out of a key aspect of ACA—expansion of Medicaid programs that serve lowincome people. She is regional director of state affairs for Molina Healthcare, which contracts with state governments to help manage Medicaid programs and also runs primary care clinics. What have been some of your experiences in the ACA’s implementation at the state level? “For the last three years, I’ve been explaining federal health reform and making sure people understand what it really does instead of what they’ve heard on the news, which may be incorrect. For the most part, our company has decided to support Medicaid expansion because we believe in Medicaid. It’s something I’m passionate about, but it’s also been fascinating to hear the various opinions. I don’t think anybody disagrees with the basic premise that people should have health care. The argument always gets back to where government ends and where private responsibility begins and how and where to draw that line.” Looking ahead, do you believe the ACA will transform the landscape in health law and education? “Absolutely. Especially with all the new rules, there is so much need for people who can interpret the law but who also know how markets work. If McGeorge can educate its students to understand the policy and business regulations, they’ll be very marketable and very needed in business and government. Health care is an ongoing discussion for everyone. We can’t say, ‘It’s done; it’s fixed.’ Our health care system is always changing. People in policymaking and education must always acknowledge that and must always be prepared to have the discussion and devise solutions.” April Alexander, ’04, regional director of state affairs for Molina Healthcare. 28 SUMMER 20 14 S T E V E Y E AT E R


University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law - Summer 2014
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