Debra Lipson

Debra Lipson

Senior Fellow

Debra Lipson has engaged in health policy research for more than 35 years. Her research focuses on Medicaid and state health policy, managed care for vulnerable populations, and long-term services and supports (LTSS) for older adults and people with disabilities. She has expertise in qualitative research methods and comparative policy analysis.

Lipson has directed numerous projects and studies evaluating the effects of innovative state financing and delivery approaches on access, quality, and cost. In 2022, she led a study of Massachusetts’ pioneering program that has sought to hold insurers and health systems accountable for keeping cost growth trends below a legislatively specified benchmark. From 2015 to 2020, she directed a multifaceted technical assistance project for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to strengthen federal and state oversight of Medicaid managed care programs and has since been a senior advisor to the project. She also led a project funded by CMS that developed and tested two dozen new quality measures for use in the Medicaid program, with a focus on home and community-based service quality.

Lipson has directed studies of state oversight of Medicaid managed LTSS programs, state Medicaid managed care rate-setting methods, factors influencing enrollment in integrated care programs for dually eligible individuals, and care coordination models for people with disabilities and complex needs. From 2007 to 2014, she was a coinvestigator for the national evaluation of the Money Follows the Person Demonstration, analyzing state grantees’ implementation progress and challenges in trying to relocate elderly and disabled Medicaid beneficiaries living in institutions to home- and community-based care.

Before coming to Mathematica, Lipson held senior positions at several research institutes, including the Institute for the Future of Aging Services (now LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston), the Alpha Center (now AcademyHealth), and the Intergovernmental Health Policy Project at George Washington University. From 1997 to 2002, she was a health policy analyst at the World Health Organization, where she studied international trade in health services, the effects of global trade rules on national health policy, and the relationship between poverty reduction efforts and health. She has published widely in peer-reviewed journals and holds a master’s degree in health services administration and health policy from the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan.

  • State health policy
  • Medicaid managed care and financing issues
  • Delivery and quality of long-term care services
Focus Area Topics
  • Health
  • Long-Term Services and Supports
  • Medicaid and CHIP
  • State Health Policy

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