This morning's "Morning Money" tipsheet from Politico featured comments from Thorn Run’s Jason Rosenstock on what sort of legislative activity we could see from Congress in 2018. Rosenstock astutely notes that while there is potential for “big swing” legislation such as infrastructure, the compressed 2018 legislative calendar and the upcoming mid-term elections make it more likely that Congressional Republicans will be looking to pass "small ball" bills that can generate broad bipartisan support. “This will be especially true in the House, where there is a palpable, growing fear that there could be a flip in November," said Rosenstock. "Possible agenda items for this strategy could include other areas of financial services regulatory relief, as well as a data breach bill, CFIUS reform and possible housing reform and flood insurance.”
TRP in the News
In an Inside Health Policy article published yesterday, Thorn Run Partners Senior Vice President Shea McCarthy discussed the next steps for Republicans in Congress on healthcare reform, as well as the politics of Affordable Care Act (ACA) replacements in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections. “With health care promising to be a top issue for voters again in 2018, Republicans in Congress are prone to tread lightly on anything that could potentially alienate their base,” said McCarthy. McCarthy said that this dynamic is likely to translate to more rhetoric over "repeal and replace" and the shortcomings of ACA, as well as a focus on Graham-Cassidy as a primary ACA replacement plan. "While some in the GOP will suggest that repeal of the individual mandate will necessitate market stabilization reforms this year, many more see it as an incremental step towards Graham-Cassidy,” said McCarthy.
In today's Politico Influence newsletter — the leading government relations beat in Washington D.C. — Thorn Run Partners was cited following the announcement of its strategic partnership with Rockingstone Group. “Partnering with Rockingstone offers Thorn Run’s clients access to an even deeper level of health policy expertise than ever before," said TRP's Andy Rosenberg. "It allows us to better serve our clients by providing them a seamless means of pairing our advocacy expertise with sophisticated research and in-depth policy projects."
Thorn Run Partners (TRP) (thornrun.com) and the Rockingstone Group (rockingstonegroup.com) today announced the formation of a strategic alliance to link their leading health care policy and tactical capabilities. The two firms will share intelligence, collaborate on policy analysis, and jointly serve on new client projects.
Founded in 2010, Thorn Run Partners features one of Washington’s leading health care lobbying, communications, and policy practices, and proudly represents some of the nation’s leading companies, trade associations, and nonprofits. Rockingstone provides industry and health system clients with deep-dive, project-based policy counsel and expertise in the design and implementation of forward-thinking, value-based solutions. Rockingstone is composed of former Senate staffers who were instrumental in the development of the Affordable Care Act.
In an Inside Health Policy article published December 15, Thorn Run Partners Senior Vice President Shea McCarthy discusses the possibility of entitlement reform next year. Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) has said that Republicans plan to pass entitlement reform through the reconcilation process next year. McCarthy astutely points out that GOP leadership has been reading from the same playbook with respect to their biggest policy priorities this year, and it stands to reason they will plan to do so going forward. However, McCarthy noted that major cuts to Medicare and Medicaid would be a tough undertaking for the GOP-led Congress. "Major cuts to Medicare or Medicaid will be even more difficult to move through Congress than ACA repeal — and without all the sweeteners that come along with tax reform," said McCarthy. "And with a shrinking margin in the Senate, Republicans should be realistic about whether they’re writing their election year messaging platform, or a bill that can actually become law.”
In an Inside Health Policy article published Monday, Thorn Run Partner’s Senior Vice President Shea McCarthy discusses possible next steps for CMS and the Trump administration following the end of the 2018 Affordable Care Act (ACA) enrollment period. The article notes that industry lobbysts expect CMS to take some sort of action following the end of the enrollment period, possibly shutting out "in-line" enrollees who are waiting as a result of expected healthcare.gov slowdowns. McCarthy wisely pointed out that the end of the open enrollment period will represent "a key inflection point" for the Trump administration regarding their approach to ACA implementation moving forward. “It stands to reason that regulators will use the end of open enrollment as another opportunity to chip away at the ACA marketplaces," said McCarthy.
Today, RealClearPolicy published an article authored by Thorn Run's Shea McCarthy that outlines the implications of implications of the various tax reform bills on the nation's healthcare system. With the Senate eyeing a vote on its version of a tax overhaul bill after thanksgiving, McCarthy noted that stakeholders should take the implications of the GOP's once-in-a-generation tax reform effort seriously. "Of particular note in this context is the repeal of the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which the Senate has proposed as an offset, providing over $300 billion in savings due to millions fewer individuals receiving subsidized health insurance," wrote McCarthy. "Additionally, a rarely discussed provision in congressional PAYGO rules could require over $135 billion in annual cuts to mandatory spending, targeting health-care programs including Medicare and ACA funding." McCarthy also discussed the political complexities of passing the bipartisan Alexander-Murray ACA stabilization deal, noting that the Senate Majority reached tentative agreement to hold a separate vote on the health-care deal negotiated by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (R-WA) after the Senate repeals the individual mandate in its tax reform bill.
Say what you want about an ineffective Congress, but starting with the introduction of “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” through until whenever this crazy train reaches its destination, things are definitely moving full steam ahead. If the schedule holds – and there is every reason to think that it will in the House, but may be delayed slightly in the Senate – the first session of the 115th Congress will come hurtling down the tracks with a flurry of intensity not seen in years. While the end of sessions shenanigans we have grown accustomed to have primarily focused on debt limits and government spending, issues that have broad impact and allow for easy free-riding, tax reform is a whole different kettle of fish. While there is sometime overlap amongst companies or industries, it is not always case. Furthermore, much of these negotiations are zero sum gains, so at the end of the day there is a strong incentive of “every man/woman for themselves.” Selfishly, we would add that even at this early point in the process the tax reform debate has shown the value of having a strong government affairs team in DC.
This morning's "Morning Money" piece from Politico featured “hat tip” to comments made by Thorn Run’s Jason Rosenstock, who offered his take on the current state of play between both parties on the debt limit earlier this summer. “Democrats whose history under the Gephardt Rule shows they never wanted to make this a public issue, and who are tired of having to supply the votes and the campaign fodder for Republicans, have almost no incentive to bail out the GOP majority,” noted Rosenstock. “Republicans, in control of all three branches of Government for the first time during one of these crises, know that they can’t escape the blame for any repercussions from the stock market for failing to raise the debt limit. While few are publicly talking about it, the stars may be aligning so that this next extension is the final time Congress deals with this issue.”
For immediate release: July 24, 2017
Contact: Andrew Rosenberg, (202) 247-6301
Thorn Run Partners (TRP) announced today the addition of Capitol Hill staffer Charles (Chas) Thomas as Vice President. Thomas joins TRP from the Office of Representative Robert Pittenger (R-NC), where he served as Senior Legislative Assistant and Pittenger’s lead staff liaison to the House Financial Services Committee, including the Monetary Policy & Trade and Financial Institutions & Consumer Credit Subcommittees.