This week we’re having a conversation with Maggie Elehwany, JD, Vice President of Government Affairs and Policy with the National Rural Health Association. Maggie joined the NRHA staff in 2007 as the head lobbyist for the association and is responsible for the Government Affairs and Policy department.
As Senator Chuck Schumer said at a recent meeting, “If we’ve learned nothing from the last election [meaning the election of Donald Trump] it’s that we can’t listen enough to rural America.”
Maggie has over 20 years of federal legislative experience. She previously served as health counsel to U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and to U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, where she worked on comprehensive Medicare and Medicaid legislation. Maggie also served as counsel to former U.S. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Bob Packwood. From 1999 to 2005, she served as assistant director of congressional affairs for the American Medical Association, where she advocated on patient and physician issues.
Maggie grew up in a small town in Oregon, Cottage Grove, which has a small hospital. Growing up in Oregon, where many parts of the state are still rural, even frontier, provided Maggie with an appreciation of the challenges rural health leaders face. When she started working in healthcare for different senators, she had the opportunity to work for two different senators from the state of Alaska. That experience provided an even greater appreciation for the issues rural health providers face. When you layer the complications of being in rural and/or frontier America, and on top of that, consider the vastness of a state like Alaska, simply getting to a healthcare center is a challenge. In Alaska, quite often, the only way one can access healthcare is by air or boat. This helps one realize how just accessing care is so tremendously important and really is the lifeline to communities.
Maggie earned a J.D. from the University of Oregon and a B.A. from Oregon State University.