August 10,2004

Baucus Welcomes New Staff to Finance Committee: Alice M. Weiss and Diana Birkett Join the Subcommittee on Health Care

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) Today, U.S. Senator Max Baucus announced that Alice M. Weiss and Diana Birkett have joined the Senate Finance Committee, Democratic Staff, to work on health care issues. Ms. Weiss will be working on Medicaid, State Children's Healthcare Insurance Program (S-CHIP), and coverage for the uninsured, while Ms. Birkett will be handling matters concerning health care quality and health information technology.

Ms. Weiss was the Director of Health Policy for the National Partnership for Women & Families, where she advocated for national policies to improve women and families’ access to quality, affordable, health coverage. At the Partnership, Ms. Weiss testified before Congress and was selected to represent consumers’ interests before the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in 2002 and 2003. Before joining the Partnership, Ms. Weiss worked at the U.S. Department of Labor, where she advanced reforms to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), the federal law governing employer-sponsored health insurance.

Ms. Birkett was a 2003-2004 David Winston Health Policy Fellow and has been working with the Finance Committee health team since October 2003. Prior to moving to Washington, D.C. for the fellowship, she worked with the Washington State Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program in Seattle on a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop and implement a new approach to nutrition services targeting health behaviors related to childhood obesity and diabetes. During the summer of 2002, Diana worked with the U.S. General Accounting Office in their Seattle field office, contributing to a report on Emergency Department overcrowding.

“Alice and Diana’s long list of credentials demonstrate their commitment to improving our nation’s healthcare system,” Baucus said. “Their dedication and expertise will be a great asset to the Senate Finance Committee while creating and shaping critical healthcare policy.”

Ms. Weiss earned her Bachelor of Arts in History from Haverford College and her Juris Doctorate from Northeastern University School of Law. She is a member of the California Bar Association.

Ms. Birkett is a graduate of the University of Washington, where she received a Masters in Public Health and a Masters in Public Administration. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University.