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Readers Choose the Most Influential Person in Healthcare in 2018

AJMC Staff

This year, The American Journal of Managed Care® asked readers for the first time who they thought was the most influential person in healthcare. We provided some options in the poll, but we also gave readers the opportunity to write in answers, which resulted in answers like Steve Jobs of Apple, who passed away in 2011.

Here are the 3 most influential people in healthcare, according to our readers:

Tied for Second
CMS Administrator Seema Verma and Amazon Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos received equal votes to tie for second.

As the head of CMS, Verma has been at the center of a number of big health policy announcements. In 2018, Verma and CMS announced new payment models, offered guidance on seeking waivers to add work requirements to Medicaid, overhauled the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), and took aim at drug prices.

Verma was the one to announce that Medicare Advantage plans would be able to use step therapy, which was met with mixed reactions, as was the proposed changes to MSSP, which encourages accountable care organizations to take on risk at a much faster pace.

Meanwhile, Bezos is poised to potentially disrupt healthcare. Amazon has been successful in retail and technology and now it is making the leap into healthcare. Amazon started the year with an announcement that it, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase would form a separate, independent company that would tackle the issue of rising healthcare costs. In June, it was announced that Atul Gawande, MD, would head the joint venture.

Amazon also bought PillPack, an online pharmacy, which fed rumors that it was going to get into health insurance.

Number One
Verma’s colleague, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, received the most votes, with nearly half of the total cast, to be named the most influential person in healthcare in 2018. One of Gottlieb’s areas of focus has been getting cheaper drugs to the market faster. Part of that was the Biosimilar Action Plan, which was announced in July.

Gottlieb has also taken aim at flavored tobacco products that appeal to teens and adolescents. The FDA seized documents from Juul’s headquarters in October, and the FDA announced steps it would take to prevent access to flavored tobacco products in November.
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