Carol McDaid, Principal
Carol McDaid is a co-founder and Principal of Capitol Decisions Inc. With nearly 25 years of Federal legislative experience in Washington, Ms. McDaid provides her clients with legislative and public affairs consulting on issues that span the breadth of health care, including Medicare, Medicaid, private sector reimbursement issues, and comparative effectiveness research.
A special focus of Capitol Decisions is national alcohol and drug treatment policy. For over 15 years, Ms. McDaid has worked with leading non-profit drug and alcohol treatment centers, addiction physicians, and other prevention and consumer organizations to refine public policy addressing alcohol and other drug addictions.
Ms. McDaid led the Parity NOW Coalition behind passage of the 2008 “Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.” This landmark legislation requires insurers to treat addiction, mental, and physical health problems equally.
The Parity NOW Coalition became the model for successfully advocating for inclusion of addiction and mental health benefits in health-care reform legislation. Over 300 addiction and mental health provider and consumer organizations, plus criminal justice, child welfare, and other groups, make up the coalition.
Ms. McDaid’s approach to government relations is built on what she calls “layered strategies.” Her method overcomes stigma by blending traditional lobbying with public affairs tactics, national media relations, third-party constituency building, Internet-based grassroots advocacy, and identification of federal funding in both the public and private sectors.
“You have to fully engage the grassroots to do all the steps, building support among constituents back in local districts, with key opinion leaders at the ‘grasstops,’ and with policymakers in Washington,” she says. “We help our clients and grassroots members experience the power of their own advocacy.”
Because Ms. McDaid personally overcame addiction, she understands the challenges, political and personal, of dealing with alcohol and drug issues. She serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for Faces and Voices of Recovery. She also serves on the Betty Ford Institute Executive Council, and in 2007, she received the Johnson Institute’s America Honors Recovery Award.
Before coming to CDI, Ms. McDaid worked for seven years as Senior Vice President at R. Duffy Wall & Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based government relations consulting firm. There she managed the health-care practice and represented hospitals, providers, insurers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and cancer research interests. She has also been a senior Washington representative at the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association and a manager in the Employee Benefit Services Group of PriceWaterhouseCoopers Washington National Tax Service.
A North Carolina native, Carol McDaid graduated from Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., where she majored in Political Science. The focus of her graduate work was in legislative affairs at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.