Tribute to an Advocate: Byron Gross

Tribute to an Advocate: Byron Gross

As many of you know, this past week marked the retirement of Byron Gross, whose legacy at NHeLP spanned the last 22 years. I would like to take a minute to reflect on that marvelous legacy.

NHeLP’s former director, Larry Lavin, had the foresight to recruit Byron to join NHeLP’s Board of Directors back in 1992, where he served for nearly 20 years, helping guide the organization through numerous developments in the health care field as well as internal changes—including the decision in 2008 to bring me on as executive director.

In 2011, Byron left the Board to join NHeLP as Of Counsel in our Los Angeles office. In this role, Byron was integrally involved in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, and soon became an invaluable resource to state-based health care advocates around the country. One of his more well-known accomplishments was the development of the “MAGI (Modified Adjusted Gross Income) Guide.” If anyone had a question about the new MAGI test, we knew Byron was the one to call.

I would be remiss if I did not also remark on Byron’s accomplished legal career outside of NHeLP. After graduating from law school at the University of California at Berkeley, Byron spent more than 13 years working at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles before joining Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, Inc., one of the country’s premiere health law firms. He has been honored with several awards for his work over the years, including the Award of Merit for Attorney of the Year from the Legal Aid Association of California, the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Benjamin Aranda III Outstanding Public Service Award, the Angel Award by California Lawyer magazine, and the Pro Bono Service Award by the HIV and AIDS Legal Services Alliance. Byron is also a lover of the arts and serves on the board of a local theatre group, Cornerstone Theater Company. In fact, few may know that we almost lost Byron to the stage—after graduating from Yale University, he spent several years in theater administration before finding his way to the law.

While this may mark the end of our formal relationship with Byron, our affection and respect for him will not fade. NHeLP is undoubtedly a better organization because of Byron’s involvement, and I hope you will all join me in thanking him for his years of service. You can send him a private message at [email protected].



Emily Spitzer

Executive Director

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