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ML Strategies Health Care Preview - December 10, 2018

This week, Congress is in session to hash out the final details of the year-end partial spending deal. Congress has completed five of the twelve spending bills for fiscal year 2019. With FY 2019 funding already completed in the health care space, stakeholders have their eyes on Money Follows the Person and the ACE Kids Act. The House is expected to vote on the legislation titled, Improving Medicaid Programs and Opportunities for Eligible Beneficiaries (IMPROVE) Act, this week. This legislation would include a version of ACE as well as provide temporary funding for the MFP program.

The ACE Kids Act would allow states to create a home health model for children in Medicaid with medically complex conditions. It has 40 bipartisan cosponsors in the Senate. The MFP extension has been hanging in the balance since the end of the fiscal year, but looks on pace for a short-term extension. The bill also includes legislation introduced by the Senator Chuck Grassley (IA) and Senator Ron Wyden (OR) to recoup Medicaid rebates from drug companies that misclassify brand drugs as generics. This is one of the pay-fors used in the legislation, which allows provisions such as ACE Kids and MFP to get done.

Additionally, stakeholders are still tracking a potential doughnut hole fix, although it seems unlikely at this juncture. There's also those who believe the window to repeal the medical device tax is now, given the bipartisan support when the House overwhelmingly passed it this summer. It's not clear at this time that the Senate will vote on it.

The next two weeks will also shed light on what 2019 has in store for the incoming majority. House Democrats, led by soon-to-be Speaker Pelosi, are not in the majority yet. Will they, working with Senator Schumer and Senate Democrats, provide votes on appropriations bills, continuing resolutions, or any other bills during the next two weeks? They do have the ability to hold bills over to force the next Congress to consider them under a Democratic majority in the House. Of course solving funding issues now takes them off the table for much of 2019. Time will tell but the next two weeks have significant implications for the agenda in 2019.

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About this Author

Rodney L. Whitlock, Mintz Levin, ML Startegies, Health Policy Advisor, Washington DC
ML Strategies - Vice President

Rodney is a veteran health care policy professional with more than 20 years of experience working with the US Congress, where he served as health policy advisor and as Acting Health Policy Director for Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and, earlier, on the staff of former US Representative Charlie Norwood of Georgia.

During his years with Representative Norwood, Rodney managed the Patients’ Bill of Rights, which passed the House in 1999 and 2001. In February 2005, Rodney left the office of Congressman Norwood to join the Finance...

Katie Weider, Mintz Levin Law Firm, New York, Health Care Policy Director
Director of Health Policy

Katie provides advice and guidance on issues relating to Medicaid, Medicare, and the Marketplace.

Prior to joining ML Strategies, Katie was a senior analyst with the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), a nonpartisan agency that provides Congress, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and states with analysis and recommendations on issues affecting Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). There Katie researched, developed, and prepared Medicaid policy recommendations; conducted legislative, data, and policy analyses related to a host of Medicaid and Medicare issues; and provided policy analyses and technical assistance for Congressional staff on draft bills and policy questions, among many other duties.


In her work at ML Strategies Katie helps navigate complex legislative, regulatory, and executive actions relating to Medicaid, Medicare, and the Marketplace. She helps clients determine the effects of state and federal action on client business models and helps clients develop comprehensive strategies. 


While earning her master’s degree in public health, Katie worked at the George Washington University leading the evaluation of HRSA’s Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education program and also worked in the office of Senator Charles Grassley.

Manager of Government Relations

Prior to joining ML Strategies, Eli was a legislative correspondent for US Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM), where his experience included health care, education, child welfare, social security, food assistance, and poverty issues specifically as they relate to the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Social Security. Previously, Eli served as a legislative intern with Senator Heinrich. He also served as a legislative intern with Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), where he worked on issues related to education, health, and commerce. Eli has also served as an intern at a political...