Nancy-Ann DeParle’s decades-long career in the health care industry has spanned all corners of Tennessee, two White House administrations, the boards of some of the most impactful health care companies and nonprofits and one of the most consequential accomplishments in the history of American health care. Her crowning professional achievement, the enactment and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, succeeded in insuring tens of millions of Americans who previously had gone uninsured.
DeParle began her career by receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree with highest honors from the University of Tennessee, where she was the first female student body president in UT history. She followed that with a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School and Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in politics and economics from Balliol College of Oxford University, where she was also a Rhodes Scholar.
After graduating from Harvard Law in 1983, DeParle worked in law until the public sector came calling. She became the youngest Cabinet member in Tennessee history by serving as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Human Services under Governor Ned McWherter.
DeParle joined the Clinton administration in 1993 to serve as associate director for health and personnel at the White House Office of Management and Budget. From 1997 to 2000, she worked as the administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration, now the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS). As administrator, she directed Medicare, Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). She played a key role in the development of the legislation’s key Medicare reforms as well as a new child health insurance program. She was known as a policy driver who kept her view of larger goals and progress in mind as she worked towards compromise.
After her tenure in the Clinton White House, she held numerous positions in academia and the private sector, including managing director at CCMP Capital Advisors, adjunct professor of health systems at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a trustee or director of several corporate and nonprofit boards including Boston Scientific, Cerner, Health Affairs, Medco Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
From 2011 to January 2013, she was assistant to the President and deputy chief of staff for policy under President Barack Obama. Selected for her strong personal character in addition to her deep knowledge of health care in the private and public sectors, she spearheaded Obama’s successful effort to enact the Affordable Care Act and managed the initial implementation of the law. DeParle was responsible for mastering every policy detail; ensuring the views of other Administration health care experts were considered; meeting with and addressing the concerns of Senators, House Members and congressional staff and working closely with a wide range of health care stakeholders. She had to synthesize all views and facts and continually adjust strategy to new circumstances. And, of course, she was responsible for making pivotal recommendations to the President at every step of the process. She also served as counselor to the President and director of the White House Office of Health Reform from 2009 to 2011.
She then became a lecturer in law at Harvard Law School and a visiting scholar in economic studies at the Brookings Institute. Currently, she is a partner and co-founder of Consonance Capital Partners, a private equity firm in U.S. health care. She is also a director of CVS Health and HCA.