Rima Cohen is the former counselor for health policy to the Secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services where she advised the Secretary on a range of health care matters and helped to develop and lead Obama Administration initiatives related to programs administered by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Agency for Health Care Quality and Research, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology and the Office for Civil Rights. During her tenure, Ms. Cohen also stepped in to lead the Department’s planning and evaluation office for six months. As the Acting Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Ms. Cohen advised the Secretary on policy development in areas that include health care, disability, human services, and science; and she provided advice and analysis on economic policy.
Prior to assuming this position, Cohen was the Director of Health and Social Services for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, where she oversaw the City’s health care programs and agencies, including Medicaid, the City’s public hospital and health care system, and the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. Cohen also spent a decade on Capitol Hill as former-Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle’s senior health policy advisor, and she founded and directed Insurance Options for the Uninsured (IOU), a project sponsored by the Greater New York Hospital Foundation that developed and implemented strategies for expanding health insurance coverage in New York. In that position, she developed the original blueprint for the state’s Family Health Plus program – a Medicaid expansion enacted in 2000 that covers up to 500,000 low-income adults – and she created the first web-based tool linking New Yorkers with free and low-cost health and social services.
Cohen has a master’s degree in public affairs, with a concentration in economics, from Princeton University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Michigan; she also did undergraduate work at the London School of Economics. After graduate school, Cohen was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study program evaluation methods employed by U.S. NGOs operating in Indonesia.
Ms. Cohen sits on the board of the California-based non-profit organization, Social Interest Solutions, and she is on the advisory board of a health care IT start up. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband and daughter.