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Ron Pollack to step down from Families USA

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Ron Pollack, the influential leader of the consumer advocacy group Families USA, will step down in March.

Mr. Pollack, 72, will take the role of chair emeritus. The Families USA board of directors will begin searching for a successor next month.

But don't call it a retirement.

"I don't intend to retire, I am very healthy. I intend to move on to what has animated my life and career, which is securing distributive justice,” said the lawyer.

Mr. Pollack has played a pivotal role in most every piece of healthcare legislation since he co-founded Families USA 33 years ago. The Affordable Care Act, the Children's Health Insurance Program and its expansion were all priorities for Families USA.

In 1997, President Bill Clinton appointed Mr. Pollack to a committee that drafted the Patients' Bill of Rights.

Mr. Pollack has said one of his greatest feats is bringing together “strange bedfellows,” such as insurers, hospitals, physician and nurse groups, the pharmaceutical industry, and business and labor groups.

"One should never write off an organization and feel like you're an enemy just because you have differences on one or two policy issues,” he said, adding that often groups with different agendas can find common ground.

Mr. Pollack will leave Families USA as the group works to expand Medicaid in the 19 states that haven't done it yet. They are focusing on Texas, Georgia and Florida, the states with the largest number of low-income uninsured people who could benefit from expansion.

Families USA is also working on a campaign to build oral health in the country, Mr. Pollack said.

Michael Sandler writes for Modern Healthcare, a sister publication of Business Insurance.