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ML Strategies Health Care Preview: Week of February 11, 2019

With Valentine’s Day approaching, love may be in the air - but not so much on Capitol Hill. Talks to reach a border security deal ahead of Friday’s deadline broke down over the weekend. At the precipice of another government shutdown, the President is off to El Paso today to argue that walls work, as thousands of troops descend on the border once again. Congressional negotiators had hoped to reach a deal today to provide time to members to review the deal under regular order. A short-term extension at the last moment seems the most likely way a shutdown is averted.

During the recent shutdown, we noted how difficult it is for either side to appear to be compromising. When you and your supporters believe you are completely right on an issue, it's challenging to make any compromises that might be conceding ground to the opposition. If we are once again looking at a possible shutdown, it is because the challenge to compromise remains true.

We’re nearly halfway through February and Congress has sent very limited signals on legislative direction. Both chambers are circling on drug pricing, and the House E&C Health Subcommittee will propose legislation to counteract actions taken by the Administration against the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The legislation would reportedly revoke the rule on short-term limited duration plans and the revised state innovation waiver guidance, as well as restore ACA outreach funding which is currently $10 million.


Democrats are introducing drug pricing legislation left and right. While some are bipartisan, many are yet to become bipartisan and may not this Congress. That said, two separate House committees are conducting investigations into rising drug costs and the Senate Finance Committee has scheduled a highly anticipated hearing that will feature seven pharmaceutical executives. This is on the heels of the reintroduction of the bipartisan CREATES Act, which would block tactics by manufacturers to delay generic drug development, among other measures.

What’s important to keep in mind is the possibility of bipartisan agreement on a drug pricing bill and what it might mean for a broader health care package this year.


E&C Health – “Strengthening Our Health Care System: Legislation to Reverse ACA Sabotage and Ensure Pre-Existing Conditions Protections.” Wednesday at 10:30 am.

Ways & Means – “The Cost of Rising Prescription Drugs.” Tuesday at 10 am.


HELP – “Managing Pain During the Opioid Crisis.” Tuesday at 10 am.


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About this Author

Frank Guinta ML Strategies VP
Senior Vice President of ML Strategies/US

Frank is based in our Washington, DC office and is Senior Vice President of ML Strategies.

Prior to joining the firm, Frank represented New Hampshire’s 1st congressional district in the US House of Representatives. He served for two nonconsecutive terms, from 2011 to 2013 and from 2015 to 2017. During his time in Congress, Frank served on several House committees. During his most recent term, he was a member of the Committee on Financial Services and served on its Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit as well as its Monetary Policy and Trade sub-...

Alexander Hecht, Vice President of Government Relations, Mintz Levin law Firm
ML Strategies - Executive Vice President & Director of Operations

Alex is Executive Vice President & Director of Operations, ML Strategies, Washington, DC. He is an attorney with more than 10 years of senior-level experience in Congress and trade associations.

Alex assists clients with their legislative and regulatory needs on a wide range of issues, including health care, telecommunications, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), technology, energy, and federal procurement. Prior to joining ML Strategies, Alex served for over six years as chief counsel for Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME) on the US Senate Committee on Small Business...