Newsmakers: Secretary Dennis Smith – Dept. of Health Services
Dennis Smith, the new secretary of Wisconsin’s Health Services Department, faces a huge challenge: Find a way to control costs in the $6.1-billion annual Medicaid program that provides health care to 1.1 million low-income, elderly and disabled Wisconsin residents. But nobody knows the Medicaid system better, since Smith ran the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in former President George Bush’s administration. In a Newsmakers interview on Feb. 3, Smith talked about potential Medicaid changes and how the federal health-care reform law must be rewritten by Congress and how its original provisions would penalize Wisconsin, where 94% of residents have health insurance.