Donald Will Moran

Nov. 27, 1951 — May 11, 2021

Donald Will Moran, long-time Washingtonian, and titan of federal health care policy, passed away on May 11, 2021, after an extended illness.

Don spent nearly 50 years as a vital part of the health policy community and 22 years as the head of his firm, The Moran Company. He arrived in D.C. in 1977, serving as legislative assistant to U.S. Representative David Stockman (R-MI). When President Ronald Reagan appointed Stockman as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), he appointed Don to serve as executive associate director for budget and legislation, responsible for managing the budget process and analysis for the Executive Branch. The New York Times described Don at the time as “one of the most important, but invisible, bureaucrats in Washington.” He was proud to serve under President Reagan during a pivotal time in federal budget policy.

Following his government service, Don worked in private consulting, including as a senior partner and chief financial officer of the Lewin Group. He went on to establish The Moran Company to provide advisory and analytic services to clients actively engaged in health care policy debates in Washington, D.C. Through the years, Don played a role in the development of key policies, including the Medicare Drug benefit, the establishment of the TRICARE health system, and many others. His analysis of budgetary impacts often aided policymakers and stakeholders in pursuing legislative and regulatory changes to improve the Medicare, Medicaid, and other health programs.

Over nearly four decades of helping clients navigate the complicated American health care system, Don was known for his deep understanding of the details with an ever-present consideration for the larger picture. Don was a mentor to many in the health policy community, famous for his white-board sessions breaking down complex topics and providing historical context about the intricacies of healthcare payment systems. His colleagues often felt as though they were in graduate seminars but felt privileged to have access to his expertise.

In his free time, Don worked to master his broad set of hobbies. An avid bridge and billiards player, he also taught himself ancient philosophies and languages like Latin, Greek, Sanskrit, and Gaelic. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of far-off lands ranging from Ancient Rome and China to Middle Earth and Westeros. His home had examples of his expert woodworking skills, including hand-carved furniture for his wife, racing cars for his son, and doll furniture for his daughter, all fashioned in his hand-built workshop. He spent countless hours in his music recording studio where he wrote songs and played guitar, piano, and the drums. In the warmer days, he could be found outside golfing or gardening, always with a cigar or scotch nearby.

Don was a graduate of the University of Illinois and a member of the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics and the American Medical Informatics Association.

A native son of south side Chicago, Illinois, Don was born to William Frederick and Violet Tillman Moran on Nov. 27, 1951. He will be lovingly remembered by his wife Cynthia (née Root), brothers Mark, David, and James, son John (Fiona), daughter Jeanne, and grandchildren Lillian, Edward, and Audrey. A private funeral service in memory of Don was held on Sunday, May 16, 2021 in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.

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