Preparation is everything when it comes to getting the best results possible in a legislative or regulatory policymaking setting in Washington, D.C. While a quick read of the major newspapers or casually watching cable news might lead you to believe that Congress and the White House are at a standstill on healthcare policy development, it would be a mistake to believe nothing is happening or that there isn’t a need to get ready now for the upcoming fight.
2017 promises to be one of the busiest legislative years in nearly a decade. Even with the unpredictability of the upcoming elections, there is the certainty that we will have a new U.S. President and a number of new members of Congress.
In preparation for the opportunity to legislate on a number of major policy areas including healthcare reform, tax reform, and poverty, Speaker of the U.S. House, Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has created working groups, led by current Congressional committee chairs, to develop policy proposals for use leading up to the elections in November and then during the new Congress, which will convene in 2017.
In a recent speech designed to address the strained situation on the presidential campaign trail, Ryan referred to these efforts and to the idea of focusing on policy development in an election year as being essential to showing leadership and focusing on the future.
“As leaders, we have an obligation to put our best ideas forward, no matter the consequences. With so much at stake, the American people deserve a clear picture of what we believe,” Ryan said. “This is the basic concept behind the policy agenda that House Republicans are building right now.”
In addition to Ryan’s efforts there are behind the scenes meetings being conducted across the aisle among Democrats and on the other side of the Capitol in the Senate by leaders from both political parties. Of course, the various think tanks and healthcare-oriented lobby groups around Washington, D.C. are all working on their own plans for the new president and next Congress.
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), a nonpartisan legislative branch agency that provides analysis and policy advice to the U.S. Congress, will continue to be busy in 2016. As will the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), which makes recommendations to Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the states.
Finally, the presidential candidates and their campaigns are already developing proposals they will want to push if they are elected in November. Knowing that the first year of a new administration presents the best opportunity for major legislative accomplishments, the new president will want to hit the ground running even before the 115th Congress is convened in 2017.
The National Association of Freestanding Emergency Centers (NAFEC) will be taking a leadership role at the federal level and is already making its views known on Capitol Hill and across Washington, D.C. Working with Lucas | Compton, a bipartisan legislative and regulatory advocacy and advisory firm in Washington, D.C., NAFEC is laying the groundwork for guaranteeing that freestanding emergency centers are a vital part of the healthcare delivery system into the 21st Century.
If you are a NAFEC member or you are interested in learning more about NAFEC membership, we would welcome the opportunity to schedule a time to discuss with you in more detail the legislative and regulatory preparations currently underway and to provide an assessment of what awaits the nation and its healthcare delivery system over the next several years.
Travis Lucas, Senior Partner
Mike Chapman, Government Relations Director
Lucas | Compton LLC