Alumni News

October 19, 2019 at 6:26 pm

Notable Alumni | Kate McGarvey Gets 150,000 Restated into Medicaid, Fights Poverty

By Regina Yoong

Graphic for College of Arts & Sciences Notable Alumni Award

Editor’s Note: The College of Arts & Sciences Notable Alumni Awards honor alumni for broad career accomplishments, commitment to community service, and valuable contributions to Ohio University and the College of Arts & Sciences.

Kate McGarvey ’00 Political Science & Pre-Law

Kate McGarvey puts her law degree to work for others. A proud accomplishment was her work getting 150,000 people reinstated on Medicaid.

The other milestone, she recalls, was her argument in the Ohio Supreme Court where she was able to maintain easier appeal options for pro se litigants challenging unemployment compensation benefits.

Kate McGarvey portrait

Kate McGarvey

Currently, she is Executive Director of the Ohio State Legal Services Association, the umbrella organization for the Legal Aid Society of Columbus, Southeastern Ohio Legal Services and the Ohio Poverty Law Center.

Previously, McGarvey worked as the Director at LASC as well as the managing attorney for the health and benefits team. She was also a staff attorney and Project Director for the Health Consumer Alliance with the National Health Law Program in Los Angeles.

Kate McGarvey delivers pre-lay day keynote in 2017

Kate McGarvey delivers pre-lay day keynote in 2017.

McGarvey earned a B.A. in Political Science, cum laude, from the College of Arts & Sciences at Ohio University, followed by a law degree from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

In 2017, she delivered the Pre-Law Day keynote address at Ohio University. McGarvey, who graduated from Athens High School, relayed her personal experiences growing up in Appalachia and how that lead her to pursue a legal career in social justice.

She told students that there is no set path that will necessarily be right for any of them but encouraged them to pursue their passions. McGarvey also addressed the access to justice gap—the unmet civil legal needs of indigent Americans—and what can be done to help close it.

Kate McGarvey, portrait

Kate McGarvey

Medicaid Litigation at the State, Federal Level

McGarvey participated in a number of significant litigation cases, including the Medicaid litigation at both the state and federal level. She has worked extensively on policy advocacy through coalitions, by submitting comments on proposed rule changes, and by regular meetings with policy makers.

In September of 2014, McGarvey became the co-chair of the statewide legal services health and welfare task force, where she coordinates advocacy efforts across the state. McGarvey also worked on several major publications and presentations around health coverage for low-income individuals.

Besides her successful career, McGarvey is also an active volunteer in the community. She was an inaugural member of the Columbus Women’s Commission, where she continues to serve as the chair of the health committee and on the Executive Committee. She also serves on the Executive Committee of the Preventing Family Homelessness Coalition Advisory Board and as Vice Chair for the UHCAN Ohio Board of which she has been a member for many years.

Kate McGarvey Glo Girls Halloween

Kate McGarvey Glo Girls Halloween

OHIO Memories

Reminiscing on her time at OHIO, McGarvey says she remembers spring days walking to class through campus or sitting on porches and backyards with friends. “OU was really important to me in figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. I had gone to Athens High School but then spent my first year at OSU.  I transferred back before my sophomore year of college and was so happy to be back in Athens.  It was beautiful, smaller and much more personal.”

She recalls her time in the political science department fondly, “I had a couple of really good professors in the department which lead me to decide that I wanted to go into law with a focus on social justice. And, I’ve been lucky enough to spend my career doing that.”


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