Niall Brennan

Speech Topics

Despite accounting for 20% of every dollar spent in the US economy the vast majority of US health care consumers have little to no idea about the underlying cost of their care. Niall will recount the US governments dramatic embrace of greater transparency in health care utilization and spending, an effort hailed by John Stewart of The Daily Show as “a miracle of competence in government”.

Recruiting and retaining top tier talent. Smart deployment of technology. Empowered workforces. These are not necessarily the first things that spring to mind when people think of government organizations. Join Niall as he shares his insights on his successes and failures in managing and innovating within an entrenched bureaucracy.
Health care continues to dominate almost 20% of the US economy yet lags remarkably behind other key sectors in how it leverages data for higher productivity, better outcomes and improved customer service. Nialls years of expertise in practical applications of health care data can inform your organization.


Niall Brennan is a nationally renowned expert in health care policy, the use of health care data to enable and accelerate health system change, transparency, innovative leadership and managing for change. Niall was Chief Data Officer at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from 2010 – 2017 where he led improvements in data collection and dissemination and efforts to help CMS better harness its vast data resources to drive higher quality, patient-centered care at a lower cost. At CMS Niall directed leading-edge analytics on the Medicare, Medicaid and health insurance marketplaces as well as well as dramatically increasing the amount of data made available to external users to promote better understanding of health care in the United States. He is widely credited with significantly increasing transparency in the US health care system, releasing dozens of data products that for the first time shed light on the utilization and prescribing patterns of physicians and other health care providers. His work has been recognized by John Stewart as a “miracle of competence in government” and he was awarded the national Health Data Liberator award in 2015.

Prior to joining CMS, Niall worked at the Brookings Institution, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission where he advised Congress on Medicare payment policies, the Congressional Budget Office, where he estimated the budgetary effects of Congressional health care proposals, and The Urban Institute. A native of Ireland, Niall is a graduate of University College Dublin, and earned a master’s degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University.

His work has been published widely, including in the New England Journal of Medicine, Health Affairs, the American Journal of Managed Care, Inquiry and the Journal of Health Policy, Politics and Law.

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