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.”
TRP in the News
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.
In an op-ed published in RealClearHealth, Thorn Run's Shea McCarthy comments on the narrow path forward for the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). McCarthy notes that while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel stated a repeal and replace “will not be successful,” the GOP’s most viable path forward in passing healthcare reform remains the BCRA. “The 49 GOP senators who met over lunch at the White House last Wednesday left the meeting encouraged, and negotiations among undecided senators continued at a Members-only meeting Wednesday night,” said McCarthy. McCarthy also highlighted the unfeasibility of a “repeal and delay” tactic that would likely alienate moderates and stall healthcare reform altogether. “The likely absence of Sen. McCain this week and the intransigence of Sen. Collins will make threading the legislative needle a difficult — almost impossible — task for GOP leaders. But the BCRA could make one last gasp for revival before we finally write its eulogy. And if Leader McConnell writes the right prescription, it has an outside chance at survival.”
In an Inside Health Policy article published yesterday, Thorn Run Partner’s Senior Vice President Shea McCarthy offered his take on the role of conservatives in the House — namely the Republican Study Committee (RSC) and the House Freedom Caucus — in looming negotiations between the two chambers as lawmakers continue to digest the Senate’s healthcare reform bill. McCarthy noted that while it was expected that the Senate’s version was always expected to be more centrist than the House’s American Health Care Act (AHCA), key questions remain as to whether or not Senate conservatives — such as Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) — will support a more moderate package. “Cruz in particular still carries a lot of weight with the RSC and the Freedom Caucus,” said McCarthy in the interview prior to the Senators’ opposition of the current bill. “Assuming Cruz and Lee ultimately sign off on the Senate’s version, signaling that the bill goes ‘far enough,’ it’s hard to envision enough conservative House members casting votes to sink the package.”
In an Inside Health Policy article published last week, Thorn Run Partners Senior Vice President Shea McCarthy noted that he has heard rumblings within the GOP that the Senate could get rid of the community rating waiver in the House's American Health Care Act. “Early reports indicate that the Senate plans to keep the House’s waivers allowing states to opt out of the ACA’s essential health benefits and age-rating band requirements, but that they plan to eliminate the waiver that would allow states to skirt the ACA’s requirement that insurers must offer coverage to people with pre-existing conditions," noted McCarthy. "The waiver from the pre-existing condition protection — the so-called “community rating” policy — has been subject to deep criticism from those who fear costs could skyrocket for many patients in states that seek the waivers. Conservatives would prefer to keep the waiver, and this issue hasn’t necessarily been settled.” McCarthy also mentioned that a tax credit could be available for those making less than 250 percent of the poverty level, and that additional funding may bue dedicatyed for people aged 50-64.
This morning's "Morning Money" piece from Politico featured comments from Thorn Run’s Jason Rosenstock, who offers his take on the current state of play between both parties on the debt limit. “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.”