Commission members

The purpose of the Universal Health Care Commission is to make health care more accessible and affordable for all Washington residents. Learn more about the commission members. 

Who are the commission members?

Fifteen members make up the Universal Health Care Commission:

  • Governor Inslee will appoint six commission members. Interested applicants can apply on the Governor's website.
  • One member from each of the two largest caucuses of the House of Representatives, appointed by the Speaker of the House.
  • One member from each of the two largest caucuses of the Senate, appointed by the President of the Senate.
  • The secretary of the Department of Health, or secretary's designee.
  • The director of the Health Care Authority (HCA), or director's designee.
  • The chief executive officer (CEO) of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange, or CEO's designee.
  • The insurance commissioner, or commissioner's designee.
  • The director of the Office of Equity, or the director's designee.

See our roster to view all commission members.

Meet the commission members

Vicki Lowe, commission chair

Ms. Lowe, the executive director of the American Indian Health Commission for Washington State (AIHC) since July 2015, is a Jamestown S'Klallam descendant. She has also worked in the Health Department of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe since December of 1996. Through their Purchased and Referred Care (PRC) Program, the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe purchased insurance for their Tribal Members without access to any other coverage since 1995.

Ms. Lowe has seen this program through many changes in the private insurance world as well as Medicare and Medicaid. She participated on the Basic Health Sponsorship Workgroup, negotiated a Tribal Member-only plan with a commercial carrier, initiated contracting with commercial carriers at the Jamestown Family Health Clinic, participated in the creation and implementation of the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe Employee Plan, a self-funded plan, worked with Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe's newly created Human Resources Department to review and update benefits for the employee's plans — benefits including Life, AD&D and LTD, Long Term Care Coverage, Self-Funded Worker's Compensation and Wellness benefits. She also worked on implementation of the Indian provisions of the Affordable Care Act into the Employee Benefits and PRC programs. Beginning in 2012 she began working with the AIHC and WAHBE to implement the Tribal Assister program for the Washington Health Benefits Exchange. This project has been expanded to include Medicare, Medicaid and I.H.S. benefits training.

Ms. Lowe is also very involved in the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal Community. She has been part of the Jamestown Canoe Family since 2009, pulling in the Tribe's canoe since 2012. She supports singing and drumming, language, weaving classes and other culture programs. In 2012, she was honored as the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe's Volunteer of the Year. Most recently, Ms. Lowe was elected to Sequim City Council #3 (all positions are at large), taking her oath of office on November 23, 2021. Most of all she enjoys spending time with her family, husband Jim, five children and seven grandchildren.

Senator Ann Rivers

Ann Rivers is state senator for the 18th Legislative District, which spans much of Clark County and includes Ridgefield, La Center, Battle Ground, Yacolt, Camas and Washougal, as well as part of Vancouver.

She became the district's senator in 2012 after serving in the House of Representatives since 2010. Ann serves on the Senate's Health and Long-Term Care committee, Ways and Means committee and the Rules committee. She is in her sixth year on the Senate Republican leadership team and served as caucus chair in 2021. Her policy- and fiscal-committee experience also includes early learning and K-12 education, and transportation.

Outside of the Senate's standing committees, Ann's work at the state level includes serving on the Legislative Committee on Economic Development and International Relations; the Washington State Women's Commission; the Joint Oregon-Washington Legislative Action Committee involved in planning for a new Interstate 5 bridge spanning the Columbia River; and the Select Committee on Quality Improvement in State Hospitals.

Bidisha Mandal, Ph.D.

Dr. Mandal is a professor in the School of Economic Sciences at Washington State University. She received her doctorate from the Ohio State University in 2007. Her research focuses on health economics and policy. Areas of interest include: effect of family leave policies on mothers' mental health, labor market participation, and breastfeeding practices; effect of state and federal regulations on nutrition behavior; unemployment and mental health; and rural-urban disparities in health care access and utilization. She has published in top field and interdisciplinary journals, such as Health Economics, Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Social Science and Medicine, and the Journal of Consumer Affairs.    

David Iseminger

As the Employees and Retirees Benefits (ERB) Division's director since 2017, Dave provides direction and support for long-term benefits strategy, benefit contracting efforts, and operations of both the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) Program and School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) Program. Together, the two programs have approximately $5 billion in annual expenditures and cover over 700,000 Washingtonians who are employees and retirees (and their dependents) of school districts, state agencies, higher education institutions, and hundreds of political subdivisions. He is responsible for the PEBB and SEBB Programs' annual operating budgets, organizes both Boards' regular meetings, and supports the state's benefits collective bargaining process for both programs. Dave holds a Juris Doctorate and Master of Public Health Genetics from the University of Washington, and Bachelor of Science in Molecular Genetics from the University of Rochester (New York).

Senator Emily Randall

Sen. Emily Randall was elected to the state Senate in November 2018. Emily is now the chair of the Senate Higher Education & Workforce Development Committee, a member of the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee, and a member of the Senate Transportation Committee.

Emily has dedicated herself to expanding education opportunities and access to affordable health care for women, children and LGBTQ folks around the country. This cause is personal for her: Emily's sister Olivia was born with severe developmental and physical disabilities, and it was their family's access to Medicaid that made it possible for Olivia to live a happy life in their family home for 19 years. Emily believes that all families should have access to the health care they need to keep their families together, and no one should be at risk of bankruptcy because of their health care needs. In her first session as a legislator, she sponsored and passed the Reproductive Health Care for All bill and built a pathway to universal health care. Emily believes that all families should have access to the health care they need to keep their families together, and no one should be at risk of bankruptcy because of their health care needs.

She plans to continue making progress toward affordable higher education and expanded health care access. She is proud to serve her community in the state Senate and to put people first.

Estell Williams, M.D.

Estell Williams, M.D., is a board-certified general surgeon, an assistant professor of surgery, and executive director of the Center for Workforce Inclusion and Healthcare System Equity (WIHSE) and the Doctor for A Day (DFAD) outreach program through the University of Washington School of Medicine. DFAD is an outreach program that works with medical students, residents, and attendings to provide underserved K-12 students in the Seattle and Greater Seattle area exposure to medicine and surgery. WIHSE is the center that coordinates ecosystem programming at the school of medicine and UW Medicine health system to expand resources and opportunities for students traditionally underrepresented in medicine to expose them to careers in health.

Dr. Williams specializes in open and laparoscopic procedures including cholecystectomy, appendectomy, bowel resection, splenectomy, peritoneal dialysis (PD) catheter placement, and hernia repairs for umbilical, incisional, and inguinal hernias. Dr. Williams also has expertise in the treatment of benign anorectal diseases such as hemorrhoids and fissures, as well as skin conditions such as lipomas, epidermoid cysts, sebaceous cysts, and hidradenitis. Dr. Williams is an advocate for increasing access to quality, well-informed surgical care that will improve the overall well-being of all patients. She takes pride in helping patients carefully plan their needed surgery.

Dr. Williams's research interests include health disparities within surgical disease, STEM education and health care outreach programming. She is also passionate about resident and medical student education and is actively involved in medical school education, serving as a mentor and educator. In addition, she co-founded a social justice library with her husband — Estelita's Library — that curates social justice education and community programming. She is proud to contribute to Seattle and Washington State to empower and uplift marginalized communities.

Jane Beyer

Ms. Beyer has served as senior health policy advisor to the Washington State Insurance Commissioner since 2017. She began her career as a legal services attorney in Tacoma, Washington. She was legal counsel to the Washington State House of Representatives for twenty years, working on a broad range of health and human services issues. She was Washington State's Medicaid director from 1995 through 1998, and Washington State's Behavioral Health Commissioner from 2012 - 2015. She graduated with honors from the University of North Carolina School of Law and is admitted to the Washington State and District of Columbia bar.

Joan Altman, J.D., M.P.H.

Joan Altman, J.D., M.P.H., is the director of government affairs and strategic partnerships at the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. Joan also helps facilitate the Exchange's Health Equity Technical Advisory Committee, which is focused on improving access to health insurance coverage and addressing health disparities. Previously, she worked at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in Washington D.C. providing analytic, statistical, and messaging support to senior management during the implementation of the Medicare Modernization Act. Joan was a Gates Public Service Scholar at the University of Washington School of Law. She also earned her Master of Public Health from Yale University, where she translated her thesis research into a program that continues to provide free medical care to uninsured residents of rural Connecticut.

Representative Joe Schmick

Rep. Schmick has served the 9th District, which includes Asotin, Garfield, Franklin, Adams, Whitman and south Spokane counties, since 2007.

Joe is a former second-generation farmer and small-business owner. He earned degrees in Accounting and Economics from Eastern Washington University and is a graduate of the Washington Agriculture and Forestry Education Foundation. Joe's extensive background in agriculture includes leadership roles in local, state and national Farm Bureau organizations, Grain Quality Committee, Washington Barley Commission, and the National Barley Improvement Committee. He served as a member of the Whitman County Wetlands and Whitman County Natural Resource Advisory committees.

Joe serves on the House Appropriations Committee and the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. He is the ranking member on the House Health Care and Wellness Committee, where he has focused his efforts on keeping quality health care affordable, accountable and accessible to all, especially those in underserved rural areas.

Dr. Karen A. Johnson

Dr. Karen A. Johnson (she/her/Beloved), who goes by Dr. J, is the inaugural director for the Washington State Office of Equity. The Office was established in April 2020 to promote equitable access to opportunities, power, and resources that reduce disparities and improve outcomes across state government.

She holds a bachelor's degree in occupational therapy, a Master of Public Administration, and doctorate in Urban Services. She is also a member of the 2018 Leadership Women America cohort.

Dr. J says, "I will work toward equity and justice for all... until justice rolls down as waters."

Kristin Peterson

Ms. Peterson, deputy secretary for Policy and Planning at the Washington State Department of Health, leads and oversees a team focused on policy development, implementation, and evaluation. Kristin has experience leading government relations and policy work with a career focused on health care law and policy. She has worked for elected officials at the state and federal level, for a health care focused trade association, and for a boutique law firm focused on health care clients. Kristin thrives on building collaborative relationships and emphasizes partner engagement as a critical component to identifying challenges and solutions that promote optimal health for all. Kristin graduated from the Evergreen State College and the University of Washington School of Law. 

Representative Marcus Riccelli

Born and raised in Spokane, Representative Marcus Riccelli holds a Bachelor of Business Administration and a Master of Public Administration. From 2007 to 2010, Marcus served as U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell's eastern Washington director. Then from 2010 to 2012, he served as senior policy advisor to Washington State Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown. Elected to the state legislature in 2012, Marcus serves on the Health Care & Wellness Committee, which he vice-chaired for three years, as well as on the Capital Budget, Transportation, and Rules committees. He was also elected by his colleagues to the leadership role of majority whip in 2016. He serves on the Governor's Council for the Healthiest Next Generation, Joint Legislative Executive Committee on Planning for Aging and Disability Issues and is former chair of the Legislative Evaluation and Accountability Program Committee.

A strong believer in putting his community and people first, Marcus worked with advocates and colleagues from both sides of the aisle to prime sponsor and pass legislation creating the Washington State University Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, which trains homegrown doctors to help fill the needs of our state's rural and underserved communities.

Mohamed Shidane

Mohamed Shidane is a seasoned community organizer, activist, and policy advocate and has worked with East African immigrants and refugees in King County for over 15 years. Adding to and strengthening his community's voice has always been a true calling for him. In addition to his current role as the deputy director at the Somali Health Board, a nonprofit with the ambitious vision of eliminating health disparities for refugees and the immigrant population in King County; he is also a member of the governing board at the Rainier Valley Corps, a local nonprofit whose mission is to promote social justice by cultivating leaders of color, strengthening organizations led by communities of color, and fostering collaboration between diverse communities. Mohamed has also served as a member of the Universal Health Care Work Group for two years before being appointed by the Governor to serve in the Universal Health Care Commission.

Mentoring and volunteering with the youth through cultural events and poetry is Mohamed's favorite hobby which he has consistently done since he came to Washington from a refugee camp in Kenya at 17.

Nicole Gomez, MPA

Ms. Gomez worked to pass the Universal Health Care Work Group in 2019 and helped draft and pass the Universal Health Care Commission through both chambers of the Washington State Legislature, as well as assisting efforts in passing other legislation that expands access and affordability in health care in Washington State over the past three years.

Prior to forming Alliance for Healthier Washington, Nicole spent 15 years in the workers' compensation field handling state and longshore claims nationwide. As a claims adjuster, she acted as an internal advocate for injured workers and learned about the deep systemic issues facing workers' compensation, the health care and insurance industries, employers and employment, and the vocational rehabilitation system. She is familiar with every step from an initial illness or injury to recovery and/or settlement including, but not limited to, payor/payee lien negotiations, Medicare and Medicare Set-Asides, pharmacy benefit managers, approval/denial processes, third-party administrators, International Classification of Diseases (ICD) 9/10 coding, fee schedules, third-party claims, prescription drug management, therapy, and claims budgeting.

Nicole holds degrees in Political Science and Communications and a Master of Public Administration.

Stella Vasquez

Stella Vasquez, director of program operations at the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic (YVFMC), administers, oversees and directs multiple YVFWC non-clinic programs in a two-state area (Washington and Oregon) including: Nutrition (WIC) Services, Northwest Community Action Center, Behavioral Health Services, New Hope Clinic, Outreach, Health Education, Community Health Services, Mobile Unit and Planning & Development. Span of control includes 25 sites, seven director-level direct reports, over 289 staff and a $25 million budget from multiple funding sources. Program operations impact over 100,000 clients annually. Reports directly to the YVFWC CEO.

Ms. Vasquez has spent thirty one years as an employee of Washington State Department of Social and Health (DSHS), Community Services Division (CSD) in various positions, 24 years of which were in a supervisory or administrative position. Last position as the DSHS CSD Region 2 regional administrator from 1992 through 2002.

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