Richard Kirsch is a Senior Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and the author of Fighting for Our Health: The Epic Battle to Make Health Care a Right in the United States, published in February 2012 by the Rockefeller Institute Press. In his current work for the Roosevelt Institute and as a Senior Adviser to USAction, he focuses on how progressives can tell a powerful, value-based story about our core beliefs. He also focuses on issues related to creating good jobs and writes about implementing the Affordable Care Act. Mr. Kirsch’s blog posts appear regularly on Next New Deal, the Huffington Post, and Salon.
Prior to joining the Institute, Mr. Kirsch was the National Campaign Manager of Health Care for America Now from the Campaign’s founding to its successful conclusion in April 2010. HCAN is a 1,100-member coalition, led by major progressive organizations, that deployed staff in 44 states and spent $47 million to organize for comprehensive health care reform. As HCAN’s chief spokesperson, Mr. Kirsch appeared on PBS’s The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, CNN, ABC’s World News Tonight and Good Morning America, Fox, CSPAN, and The Colbert Report and was frequently quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and other national newspapers, as well as NPR’s Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Marketplace.
From 1985 to 2008 Mr. Kirsch served as Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York, a grassroots citizen’s organization with 20,000 members and seven offices in New York. Mr. Kirsch also served as Executive Director of the Public Policy and Education Fund of New York, a research and educational foundation affiliated with Citizen Action.
Mr. Kirsch led successful campaigns to provide affordable, comprehensive health coverage to more than 1 million working New York families. He is an author of New York’s Managed Care Consumer Bill of Rights, among the strongest HMO protection laws in the country. Mr. Kirsch helped direct a 1998 ballot initiative campaign that resulted in dramatic improvements in New York City’s system of providing public financing of elections.
Mr. Kirsch was honored by Families USA in January 2001 as national Health Care Consumer Advocate of the Year. He received the New York Statewide Senior Action Council Human Services Advocacy Award for “his vision, boldness and relentless dedication in pursuit of health care for all” in June 1995.
Mr. Kirsch received a B.A. with honors from Brown University in 1974 and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1980. He worked for USAction affiliates from 1980 serving as the Financial Director of what is now Citizen Action/Illinois and as a founding co-Director of New Jersey Citizen Action. His first public interest job was with Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen.
Follow Richard on Twitter @_RichardKirsch.