“What do you want to be doing in five years?” That’s the question Pulse podcast guest Rick Kronick’s wife posed to him in 1987, five years before he would fulfill his dream and join the Clinton administration in tackling health care finance reform. Reform itself took much longer to effect, but after a series of career twists and turns, including more than 25 years as a UC San Diego professor, he was appointed by President Obama to help with implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
“I can’t imagine a more exciting way to spend my time. . . I was thrilled with the energy, the commitment, and the meaningfulness of the work,” Kronick says about his three-and-a-half-year stint as deputy assistant secretary within the Department of Health and Human Services. In addition to developing the policies, writing the regulations, and estimating the cost of the insurance exchanges, Kronick wrote issue briefs that were the basis of front-page New York Times’ stories and of arguments submitted to the U.S. Supreme Court in defense of the ACA.
Kronick possesses a PhD in political science, a degree he pursued for 17 years, even while working inside the Beltway. Once he was appointed as Director for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in 2014, he put those studies into high gear as he and his staff mobilized political support for the agency when Congress threatened to eliminate it. Over the course of four years, AHRQ’s evidence-based approach to improving safety in hospitals saved 87,000 patients’ lives and almost $20 billion in healthcare costs, he says.
After HHS, Rick was appointed Director for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Click here to listen to what he has to say about his career and AHRQ's evidence-based approach to improving safety in hospitals which has saved 87,000 patients' lives and almost $20 billion in healthcare costs.