Media

Medspace: Hospitalists on Healthcare: ‘Politicians Can’t Fix This’ | May 6, 2017

By Marcia Frellick

The AHCA bill, in its current form, won’t become law, said Jennifer Bell, founding partner of Chamber Hill Strategies in Washington, DC, and lobbyist on the Hill for the Society of Hospital Medicine.

“I’m a longtime Republican, I’m a Republican lobbyist, so what you’re hearing from me is stark reality,” she said. “This bill is going nowhere. Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell has already said he will not bring this bill to a vote.”

Her personal affiliation does not affect her lobbying for the society, she emphasized, which is nonpartisan.

Hospitalists are very concerned about the aspects of the bill that will likely reduce insurance coverage, particularly the ban on further Medicaid expansion, because fewer patients will seek the care they need, Bell told Medscape Medical News.

“The American Health Care Act is about repealing Medicaid expansion more than anything else,” she pointed out. But the bill goes beyond expansion to promote Medicaid reform, and many senators are not convinced this is the time to do that, she added.

Far more children are covered by Medicaid than by the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), “so changes at the state level to Medicaid are quite serious,” she explained.

Bloomberg BNA: Spending on Health Lobbying Spikes Under Trump | April 24, 2017

By Alex Ruoff

Overhauling the ACA has dominated the health agenda on Capitol Hill since Donald Trump became president, Jennifer Higgins, a partner and health lobbyist at Chamber Hill Strategies, told Bloomberg BNA. Lawmakers have been so focused on repealing and replacing the health law that they have had little appetite for other health reforms.

“The AHCA in my opinion is this cloud that hangs over health-care policy as long as the president and Republicans want to keep it alive,” Higgins said, referring to the ACA overhaul bill House Republicans are debating.

Republicans in the House have spent much of this year trying to replace the ACA. Lawmakers tried and failed to bring their ACA bill, the American Health Care Act (H.R. 1628), to the House floor for a vote in March and have been debating new amendments to the legislation ever since, hoping the conference can come to agreement.

Reviving the AHCA over and over again with debates over new amendments may keep Congress from moving on to other health issues, such as authorizing new money for CHIP, the public health insurance program for children, and tackling rising drug prices, Higgins said.

Lobbyists Resetting Trump Expectations | April 12, 2017

By Megan R. Wilson

“We’ve pivoted from a reform agenda to a reauthorization agenda,” said Jenn Higgins, a partner at Chamber Hill Strategies, who specializes in healthcare policy. “We thought this was going to be the year that big things would get done.”

The focus is now reauthorizing big, established healthcare programs, such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, Higgins said.

“If there are opportunities for policy developments, you’re going to have to play on the edges of those issues,” she said, adding that the Department of Health and Human Services, run by former Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), is already having listening sessions with lobbyists and stakeholders.

“If AHCA is not the policy goal, our focus and our energy will be on regulatory and administrative policy development,” Higgins said, referring to the GOP’s healthcare bill, the American Health Care Act.

CQ Weekly Influencers: In Brief | March 27, 2017

Kyle Sanders is now a principal at lobbying firm Chamber Hill Strategies. He was most recently North Carolina GOP Rep. David Rouzer’s legislative director and counsel.

The Hill: Lobbying World | March 14, 2017

Chamber Hill Strategies brought on two Republicans: Eric Schmutz, former deputy chief of staff for Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), and Kyle Sanders, a former legislative director and counsel for Rep. David Rouzer (R-N.C.). Schmutz also served in the George W. Bush administration as the director of legislative affairs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

POLITICO Playbook | March 14, 2017

By Anna Palmer and Jake Sherman

Kyle Sanders is joining D.C. government affairs firm Chamber Hill Strategies as a principal; he previously was legislative director and counsel for Rep. David Rouzer (R-N.C.). Eric Schmutz joined the firm as principal last week; he most recently was legislative director and deputy COS for Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kans.).

The Hill: Healthcare Groups Unload on GOP Bill | March 9, 2017

By Megan R. Wilson

But the lobbying right now is primarily focused on the House, said Jennifer Bell, the co-founder of Chamber Hill Strategies, who has worked for Republicans on both health and tax-writing committees.

“The next two weeks or three weeks is make or break. If it passes the House, how it passes can be very indicative of what a strategy might be in the Senate,” she said.

National Journal | March 9, 2017

Carousel: Eric Schmutz to Chamber Hill Strategies

For Eric Schmutz, a former House staffer and health care and tax expert, the timing couldn’t be better. Just as the House begins to consider health care legislation, Schmutz has joined Chamber Hill Strategies, the boutique political consultancy with a health care focus. Schmutz served as legislative director and deputy chief of staff for Rep. Lynn Jenkins of Kansas, who is a Ways and Means Committee member. He was legislative director for former Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia. He spent seven years working in George W. Bush’s administration.

Roll Call: Staffer Shuffle | March 9, 2017

By Alex Gangitano

Eric Schmutz is now a principal at the government affairs firm, Chamber Hill Strategies. He was previously legislative director and deputy chief of staff for Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan.