Manatt Strengthens Health Insurance Marketplace and Behavioral Health Offerings With New Arrivals

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, welcomed Tara R. Straw and Zoe Barnard as senior advisors in its Manatt Health group. Straw’s deep knowledge of the role insurers play in delivering health coverage under various regulatory frameworks paired with Barnard’s background in improving access to and integration of behavioral health services will be a boon for the Firm’s state, foundation, health plan and provider clients.

Straw’s work spans the Affordable Care Act’s private coverage provisions, employer coverage and design approaches for a public option. She has experience with many aspects of the Act’s policies and operations, including health care–related tax issues housed within the Department of the Treasury and the IRS, as well as with health insurance marketplaces at the Department of Health & Human Services. Straw focuses her practice on the health insurance marketplaces, the premium tax credit, Section 1332 waivers, and other issues related to eligibility, enrollment and the affordability of health coverage.

Barnard has extensive experience working on behavioral health initiatives, with a focus on enhancing medical and behavioral health access through better care management. As Montana’s Mental Health Commissioner, she was responsible for the development and implementation of Medicaid programs as well as other publicly funded mental health and substance use disorder treatment services for the state. She has experience with the behavioral health needs of people throughout their lifespan. Additionally, Barnard has directed the development of policy and administrative rules and regularly serves as a thought leader for mental health–related issues. 

Barnard and Straw are the latest additions to Manatt Health’s rapidly growing roster of health care legal and business consulting professionals. Other recent hires include experienced FDA regulatory leader Rachel Sher, Manatt Health National Advisor Dr. Christina Jenkins and Senior Advisor Claudia Page, seasoned physician and researcher Dr. Amy Salerno, health care and civil litigation Partner Megan Thibert-Ind, former New York State Department of Health Director Tracy F. Raleigh, former CEO and COO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem Eboné M. Carrington, and health care professionals Linda Elam and Blair M. Cantfil.

Straw received her LL.M. and Certificate in Employee Benefits, with distinction, as well as her J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center. She received her M.P.P. and B.A., both summa cum laude, from American University.

Barnard received her M.A. in political science from the University of Colorado at Boulder and her B.S. in environmental engineering from Michigan Technological University.



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