The Century Foundation today announced that Jeanne Lambrew will become the organization’s new Director of Health Care Reform, as Lambrew steps down as Commissioner of the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, where she has served since 2019. For Lambrew, this marks a return to Century, where she worked from 2017-2018, spearheading TCF’s efforts to defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a law she played a key role in helping to design, pass, implement, and defend during her eight years in the Obama administration, including as deputy assistant to President Obama from 2011 to 2017.

“There are few, if any, people who have had more of a positive impact on health care in recent decades than Jeanne Lambrew,” said Mark Zuckerman, TCF President and former deputy director of President Obama’s Domestic Policy Council. “Having worked alongside Jeanne in the White House, I’ve seen firsthand her unparalleled skill, ingenuity, and tireless drive to improve health care for Americans across the country, particularly the most vulnerable. Following her remarkable leadership in Maine, I am thrilled to welcome Jeanne back to TCF to defend against efforts to roll back health care and build on the progress we’ve made.”

Lambrew was the first Cabinet member Governor Mills announced following her election in 2018. Under Lambrew’s leadership, Maine expanded affordable health care to more than 100,000 people, bringing the state’s uninsured rate to its lowest point ever; led the nation in COVID-19 response, including the highest vaccination rate of older residents and one of the lowest death rates in the country; made historic investments in health and human services; and rebuilt the Department and returned it to its core mission, among other accomplishments.

“Serving as HHS Commissioner in my home state of Maine has been one of the great privileges of my life, and only deepened my commitment to build a health care system that improves the lives of all Americans,” said Jeanne Lambrew, TCF’s new Director of Health Care Reform. “I’m excited to make my return to TCF, an organization that places a premium on having policy impact. The coming years will be pivotal for health care in the U.S., and I look forward to both advancing and defending progress, in the states and at the federal level.”

At TCF, Lambrew will once again lead efforts to help chart the next generation of health care reform focused on ensuring high-quality, affordable, and universal access to care, as well as defend against the growing attacks on our health care system, including attempts in the courts and by some states to roll back essential health benefits and reverse coverage gains. She joins a dynamic TCF health care team that has played a major role in the reproductive justice and Black maternal health space in recent years, and which last month brought on expert and advocate Elizabeth Dawes as TCF’s new Director of Maternal and Reproductive Health.

During her tenure at TCF, Lambrew was also an adjunct professor at NYU’s Wagner School of Public Policy. Prior to Century, she held senior positions at the White House for ten years and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for four years. As Deputy Assistant to President Obama for health policy, she helped ensure execution of the president’s health policy agenda, including policy regarding Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), long-term services and supports, and public health. From 2009 to 2010, she was the Director of the HHS Office of Health Reform. Lambrew has also served in the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (1993–1995), the White House National Economic Council (1997–1999), and the White House Office of Management and Budget (2000–2001).

Previously, Lambrew was an associate professor at both the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs in Austin, Texas (2007–2008) and the George Washington University School of Public Health (2001–2007). She also served as senior fellow for health policy at the Center for American Progress (2003–2007) and as a research faculty member at Georgetown University. In addition to her new role at TCF, Dr. Lambrew has been invited to join the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as an Adjunct Professor of Health Policy.