Washington Representatives Summer Meeting Overview

By: Allen Pinn, Coordinator, Policy

After much anticipation, the NHC held its inaugural Washington Representatives Summer meeting at Top of the Hill (TOTH) in Washington, DC. The meeting gathered nearly 100 NHC members across the health care stakeholder community who work in policy and government affairs.

The purpose of the meeting was to give NHC members an opportunity to hear directly from Congressional staff on issues pertinent to the patient community, while also giving attendees opportunities to network and discuss their priorities for the remainder of the year.

Below is an overview of the sessions during the meeting.

Landscape Overview and Table-Setting

In the opening session of the meeting, Eric Gascho, NHC Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Affairs, and Martin Reiser, Principal at S-3 Group, gave an overview of current congressional priorities pertaining to health care. In his remarks, Reiser discussed the current dynamics on the Hill and the possibility of an end-of-year health care package. Significant health care topics raised during this session include reforming pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) practices, access to telehealth, the use of artificial intelligence, and the Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Act (PAHPA).

Discussion: Fly-Ins/Lobby Days

For many nonprofit organizations, hosting fly-ins or lobby days is imperative to advocacy work. Most organizations that shifted to virtual lobby days during the pandemic have since shifted back to in-person events or hybrid offerings. During this part of the day, NHC members discussed obstacles and successes in navigating recent lobby days with their stakeholders.

Senate Panel

Speakers Matthew Fuentes, Legislative Assistant for Senator Chuck Schumer; Polly Webster, Senior Counsel, Health, Senate Finance Committee (majority); and Conor Sheehey, Senior Health Policy Advisor, Senate Finance Committee (minority) gave their perspectives on key health care issues for the remainder of the year. During this session, each panelist responded to audience questions on a range of topics including: biosimilars, out-of-pocket costs, PBMs, and Medicare Part D redesign. All the panelists were optimistic that the previous listed topics have widespread bipartisan support.

Discussion: Policy Priorities and Opportunities for the Rest of the Year

During this session, NHC members shared their major priorities for the remainder of the year. Notable priorities shared include:

  • 652 Safe Step Act
  • Telehealth expansion
  • Farm Bill
  • Nutrition (“Food as Medicine”)
  • Health equity
  • Social drivers of health

During the report-out, many organizations mentioned coalitions they manage or belong to, encouraging other organizations to join if they have a shared interest.

House Panel

In the last panel of the day, Ryan Long, Senior Policy Adviser/Counsel for Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Sarah Levin, Professional Staff, House of Representatives Committee on Ways & Means, shared health care priorities from the House. In their comments, Long and Levin shared their thoughts on premium costs and the bipartisan scrutiny surrounding pharmacy benefit managers. Other pertinent topics raised include orphan drugs, health equity, climate change’s impact on health care, and transparency across the health care spectrum.

Discussion: NHC Policy Tools and Resources

In the last discussion of the day, NHC members were asked to reflect on their experiences with the NHC’s tools and resources offered with membership. Members responses will be used to evaluate the NHC’s current offerings and inform potential new offerings.

Save the Date: 2023 Washington Representatives Retreat

NHC members should save the date for the 2023 Washington Representatives Retreat, November 16-17 in Annapolis, MD.

2023 Washington Representatives Summer Meeting

2023 Washington Representatives Summer Meeting