The Medicaid Leader: William Snyder, Class of 2020
When William Snyder picked up the book “Redefining Health Care: Creating Value-Based Competition on Results,” he was working in the private sector for a Fortune 50 health care conglomerate and had already spent a decade in the sector. However, the book changed his outlook on what’s possible and what works for health care outcomes.
“The book highlights the importance of value-based competition,” explained Snyder, who has since spent an additional 10 years working in health care. “It really pioneered the idea of creating and paying for value in health care.”
The book sparked Snyder’s drive to find innovative health care models and approaches. Today, he is the Medicaid Director of the State of South Dakota, leading the state’s publicly financed health and long-term care coverage program for low-income people. He is also a member of the 2018 incoming class of the LSE-Chicago Double Executive Masters in Health Policy, the world’s first transatlantic Executive Masters focused exclusively on health policy, economics, and management.
“The joint program between the London School of Economics and the University of Chicago is a natural extension of my interest in developing innovative solutions to health care’s most pressing problems,” Snyder said. “I'm looking forward to being exposed to new ideas and approaches that can be applied to South Dakota Medicaid.”
Getting it right matters. Though it is one of the smallest Medicaid plans in the country, South Dakota Medicaid has a $1 billion budget, and 120,000 people rely on it for their health care.
Snyder and his team hear directly from those people. “We get firsthand feedback from people that really has an impact on what we do, which is something unique to smaller plans,” says Snyder. “Those who need health care are already stressed. The less stress that the system adds, the better it is for everyone. I work to ensure there is transparency and as little fragmentation as possible in the delivery of services.”
As the head of a Medicaid plan, Snyder is in a unique position. Each Medicaid plan is an incubator for new methods, designs, and solutions to improve public health care nationally.
He said, “The system is hungry for new approaches. Through my experience with the LSE-Chicago program, I plan to strengthen South Dakota Medicaid, and hopefully make it a model that others can look to, offering approaches that others can implement successfully.”
The fact that the LSE-Chicago program will allow Snyder to immerse himself in the UK health system is an added bonus. He noted that “oftentimes, it’s easy to get stuck in the weeds within one’s own health care system.” The program will give Snyder the opportunity to look beyond borders for ideas and solutions.
In addition to the benefits of the global component, Snyder remarked that the program is perfectly suited to mid-career professionals, particularly those with families.
“Participation doesn't require a person to move their family across the country or the ocean. It’s not necessary to take a sabbatical,” said Snyder. “This program is designed for mid-career leaders that want to take their work to the next level and really focus on economics, data, policy, and the big picture.”