Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes announced on Wednesday their Health Policy Advisory Council, a body tasked with advising the incoming administration on health care matters for the state. The new council represents a dramatic shift to a more diverse representation of health care professionals from rurle and urban health care settings and community health advocates. 

“Expanding access to affordable health care for Wisconsin residents is a top priority for our administration,” said Evers in a statement. “Our Health Policy Advisory Council will help our transition team put together a comprehensive health care plan that takes steps to increase access to health care coverage, like taking the Medicaid expansion dollars, while bringing down costs.”

The council will advise the transition team on policy matters relating to the Department of Health Services, Office of the Commissioner of Insurance, the Department of Employee Trust Funds, and numerous state boards focused on health care.

Health Policy Advisory Council members:

  • Dr. Veronica Gunn, CEO Genesis Consulting
  • Karen Timberlake, Michael Best Strategies, former Secretary, Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services
  • Candice Owley, Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, AFT VP, RN
  • Dr. Jane Mahoney, Wisconsin Institute for Healthy Aging
  • Barbara Beckert, Disability Rights of Wisconsin
  • Dr. Dipesh Navsaria, UW Health
  • Lisa Peyton-Caire, Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness
  • Kofi Short, Diverse and Resilient Community, Wisconsin Health Leadership Fellow
  • Tanya Atkinson, Planned Parenthood
  • Tim Size, Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
  • Mary Jo Meyers, Milwaukee County Health and Human Services
  • Mary Neubauer, Mental Health America of Wisconsin

“Voters said loud and clear on election day they want Wisconsin leaders to focus on health care,” said Evers. “It’s time to end the attacks on the Affordable Care Act so those with pre-existing conditions don’t have to worry about losing coverage and move our state forward on expanding access.”

Governor-elect Tony Evers and Lt. Governor-elect Mandela Barnes also announced Brian Pahnke as policy director and Jeff Pertl and Jamie Kuhn as policy advisers. Both Pahnke and Pertl currently serve as part of Evers’ team at the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and bring extensive experience in policy and state budgeting to the transition team.

Pahnke is the assistant state superintendent for the Division for Finance and Management. Prior to his appointment in 2002, he served as the DPI budget analyst for the executive budget office in the Department of Administration.

Pertl is the senior policy advisor for the Office of the State Superintendent. Prior to becoming senior policy advisor, Pertl served as the DPI policy initiatives advisor and the Milwaukee Public Schools Federal Funds trustee.

Kuhn, a member of the Dane County Board, has extensive experience in state and local government.

“I’ve said all along that what’s best for our kids is best for our state.” said Evers“Adding decades of policy experience to our transition team will help us build a budget that puts Wisconsin children and families first.”

The transition team has over 100 experts with whom they are consulting on policy as they prepare the state budget and policy initiatives for the incoming administration. Additional policy advisory councils will be announced later this week.