Andy Allison, the former Arkansas Medicaid director who served as the principal policy architect and manager of the private option, has taken a job as a Senior Expert with McKinsey & Company, the prominent multinational consulting firm. Allison began last week, a little over six months after he left his post at the Arkansas Department of Human Services

McKinsey is working under a contract with DHS (totaling $80 million since fiscal year 2012, funded by state general revenue, the federal government, as well as private payers) to help design and implement the state’s payment reform program, and has gotten tens of millions in other contracts with the state over the last several years. 


“I am not working on the Arkansas contract, of course,” Allison wrote in e-mail. “At the moment I’m not doing any work in — nor with — the state.” He added that he was “very excited about the new role.”  

Allison, a health economist with a long background researching and running Medicaid programs, was the key state official behind developing and implementing the private option — the state’s unique plan using Medicaid funds to purchase private health insurance for low-income Arkansans. Last May, when his departure was announced, Allison told me in an interview that he had served as Medicaid director for an unusually long time: “Now that the core missions that I accepted, or came to me, have been achieved, I need to focus on other things. In particular my family. I need to hit the re-set button and take at least a break from state service.”


In that same interview, he said that he did not plan to take a role with one of the major contractors or subcontractors of DHS, but clearly circumstances have changed his mind.