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ML Strategies Health Care Preview: Week of December 3rd

GOVERNMENT FUNDING

This week, Congress is expected to pass a two-week extension to avoid a partial government shutdown. This means Congress will now have until December 21st to pass a partial spending bill and wrap up the 115th Congress. It still seems that the showdown over spending will come down to the border wall funding. It just may take us longer than we expected to get there. Most importantly, this two-week extension will now give policymakers time to wrap up a few extraneous legislative items. Funding for the FDA is relevant in the context of the spending bills currently awaiting action. Both the House and Senate have proposed increases in FDA budget, with money going towards the opioid crisis, various centers within the agency, including the Oncology Center of Excellence. While there’s something to be said for maximizing leverage heading into the weekend before Christmas, it’s possible that Congress passes certain spending bills while leaving others to be resolved (e.g., Homeland Security).

LAME DUCK HEALTH CARE BILLS

As of the moment, the odds seem against a bill to address the Medicare Part D doughnut hole. Does an additional two weeks create opportunities that were not previously there? Certainly, the odds are better than they would have been if everything was wrapped up this week. It also leaves open the door on a couple of health tax related provisions. There’s interest in delaying the health insurance tax, with a group of bipartisan senators warning that if unaddressed health insurance premiums would go up in 2020. While the Senate may push to address this in the final two weeks of lame duck, the House has expressed skepticism that it will get done. The same can be said for the medical device tax which has passed the House but is still awaiting Senate action. We watch for the EMPOWER Act and the ACE Kids Act as the clock ticks down. They have support generally but paying for anything in health care is a challenge. There are no simple, easy, bipartisan, non-controversial pay-fors out there growing on trees. While we remain guardedly optimistic, it still requires agreement to pay for them.

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TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS


About this Author

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...

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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.

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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...

202-434-7352