The fundamental shift in the balance of power in Washington following the November 2018 election will have substantial implications for health care policymaking over the next two years. In light of the new Democratic majority in the House, we can expect a very activist agenda in Congress this year; and stakeholders should be anticipating having to spend a significant amount of time playing offense or defense on their agenda. Democrats, having replaced Republicans as the majority in the House, are carefully laying out their own health agenda for the 116th Congress and are expected to move forward purposefully. Meanwhile, the Senate remains under Republican control and is unlikely to dramatically change course. Much of 2019 will be spent on congressional oversight of the Trump administration’s health care actions, in addition to hearings on potential next steps in transforming the health system to include: 

  • Rx Drug Pricing
  • Preexisting Condition Protections
  • Stabilizing ACA exchanges
  • Opioids
  • Data Privacy
  • Surprise Medical Bills
  • “Medicare for All” Debate
  • Medicaid Waivers in the States 

During this time, government officials and regulators must receive honest information, enabling them to make informed decisions. Lawmaking doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Elected officials, regardless of political affiliation, want to hear and evaluate arguments from all sides of an issue when making important decisions.

Further, any real health policy change will be the result of bipartisan compromise. Because all House-passed legislation requires Senate approval and the President's signature, any laws enacted in the 116th Congress are likely to deliver moderate, incremental “wins” for both Republicans and Democrats. A strategically managed federal government engagement program will help you build and maintain your reputation among decision-makers, and will ensure you know how to access information to best support your organization and navigate often complicated processes.

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About the Author

Charla Penn
Principal
Winning Strategies Washington


Charla Penn is one of WSW’s leading health care policy specialists. Charla works extensively with hospitals, provider associations, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, insurers, and non-profits to navigate the transforming health care landscape on issues of reimbursement and access to care. Clients rely on Charla for her expertise in reimbursement policy, as well as her impressive legislative skills and policy analysis.

Charla helps clients develop, manage, and implement comprehensive government relations strategies, often tackling some of the more complicated and technical aspects of Washington, DC as part of the process, including reviewing and analyzing pending regulations, submitting official comments to pending rules, and crafting responses to Requests for Information. Charla is able to translate complex policy matters into actionable items for clients, and gives them the context they need to make the best decision for their organization.

With close relationships in key offices in both the House and Senate, particularly with the professional staff on the Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce Committees, Charla gives clients access to key decision-makers as well as to timely information and ahead-of-the curve intel to help them plan or react quickly, decisively, and effectively.

Charla’s previous experience includes serving as the Health Legislative Assistant for Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), a senior member of the Ways & Means Committee.

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About Winning Strategies Washington

Winning Strategies Washington (WSW) is uniquely positioned to assist health care entities navigate this complex environment. Established in 2001, WSW is a bipartisan, full-service federal government relations and grants procurement firm. We have extensive experience in successfully developing, implementing and managing large and complex federal government relations and funding strategies.

From the outset, health care has been our firm’s largest practice area, and over the years we have represented a number of hospital and health systems, Fortune 100 and early stage innovator drug and medical device companies, SUD treatment programs, associations representing hospitals and SUD treatment providers, patient advocacy groups and coalitions, and health insurers.While we have grown considerably, we have stayed very close to our founding principles, which are to always work harder and smarter than our competition in order to achieve success for our clients.

Ultimately, success in government relations comes from integrity, relationships, and informed strategic engagement. WSW’s expertise is derived from our principals’ collective years of experience working in the House and Senate, in senior positions for both Republican and Democratic Members of Congress. WSW’s principals have direct and significant experience in health care policy and funding issues, and will use that experience to position you for success.

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