Jennifer Bell, founding partner, presented during “Women at the Helm,” a featured discussion about women going out on their own to open policy shops. The organization 131 & Counting brings together women congressional staff and women policy professionals to discuss insights into organizational diversity both on and off the Hill; the proliferation of women-owned firms and contractors; and navigate how gender matters in policy areas once mostly exclusive to men.
Jennifer Bell, founding partner, along with the oncology strategic planning team at ECG Management Consultants, discussed the evolving reimbursement environment for oncology practices and presented practical solutions in this hour-long webinar.
Jennifer Bell, founding partner, presented the outlook for legislation and regulation on prescription drug prices, health care costs, and provider payments at the esteemed annual Princeton Conference, hosted by the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
In this video, Dr. Alok Patel interviewed Jennifer Bell, founding partner, on how physicians can make their voices heard with government officials. According to Bell, “The federal government has a huge role in paying and regulating healthcare. If your voice isn’t out there, you’re going to take whatever you get. The government is going to decide for you, whether they have your input or not. I’d say that 2020 is not the last time that we need your voice, but it is such a critical year.”
The Hill re-named Jennifer Bell, Chamber Hill Strategies, as a Top Lobbyist/Hired Gun.
Jennifer Bell, founding partner, presented at the Women and Politics Institute at American University after the historic 2018 elections. She discussed the role of lobbying in politics at the WeLEAD program, a non-partisan leadership training program that works to increase the number of women working in politics and running for office.
Jennifer Bell, Chamber Hill Strategies was named a Top Hired Gun by The Hill. Chamber Hill Strategies honed its focus on health-care policy in 2017, growing new business in a fertile lobbying area.
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.
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.
When she arrived in D.C., Jennifer Bell ‘93 was a 29-year-old speech pathologist — an outsider. Her class schedule, like Noetzel’s, never included a political science course. Her major: French.
Moving to Washington with her husband, a fellow Wheaton grad, Bell found a part-time job at a local hospital and decided to intern at Congress at the same time. That decision launched her 15-year journey through the world of public policy, which would reinvent her career, eventually leading her to co-found her own healthcare-focused lobbying firm.
As she ushered us through her home into an airy room decorated with white linen, the house seemed to stand worlds away from the buzzing streets of downtown Washington. Yet Capitol Hill is a better reflection of Bell’s mission than the quiet, wooded hill where her house sits. Bell loves the way that Washington is “concentrated” with ambitious people — go-getters gathered from around the country and the world.
Washington D.C. is a company town, Bell said — only the “company” is the federal government.
Bell’s lack of experience and “preconceived ideas” about policy making allowed her to stand out in the world of Washington, which focused on ideology. Unlike many of her colleagues developing healthcare legislation, Bell possessed a rare perspective: that of a “real person that had a real job.”
“I understand the practical implications of some of the laws we were trying to change,” she told us. That knowledge helps her to address the various needs of her clients, who include organizations like hospitals, associations of doctors and companies or CEOs.
Today, as a professional who works on behalf of clientele largely outside of the political hub, it isn’t surprising that Bell supports “outsiders” who seek to renovate Washington. It’s one reason why she supported President Trump early in the primary season when most of her colleagues did not.
“I live here and work here, but I love disruption,” she said. “I think this is a town that’s too static in its patterns.” Bell noted that her perspective reflects that of her home state, Vermont, whose suspicious and self-reliant attitude caused it to refuse to join the 13 colonies until later when it became the 14th state. “I kind of like the idea that there will be this dynamite thrown in there,” she said of the new administration.
Nevertheless, it’s “good to have a mix” of experienced politicians and newcomers, Bell added. “There’s a lot of expertise in Washington that kind of stays here.”
Learning and practicing integrity is critical in D.C., Bell said. “You can build it over time and destroy it really fast.” She stressed the need for Christians in Washington to exercise honesty and consideration. “You can have strong opinions, but do your research and take someone else’s perspective,” she said. “Try to understand what they think and build relationships.”
Price transparency would mandate that healthcare providers — such as physicians and clinics — display prices for services. Presumably, if consumers know how expensive a procedure or service is, and have to pay for that service out of their own pocket, then they may choose a less expensive option. This would mirror the ACA’s requirement that certain restaurants post calorie counts next to menu items. Jennifer Bell, a healthcare lobbyist in the D.C. area, said she is unsure as to whether Americans will “ever get to the point where cheaper feels better overall.” She said that while cheaper options are adequate, if a loved one gets ill, family members often opt for a more expensive option, which is often perceived as higher quality.
This could take years, according to Bell. Additionally, insurance companies — who are at the frontline of implementing new healthcare rules — need at least 18 months to receive final rules, develop and approve bids and offer the plans to consumers. With no current replacement plan in motion, it could be at least two years before a new healthcare system is activated. The long-term process of healthcare implementation is exemplified by Obamacare, for which full implementation will not be completed until 2022.
According to Bell, one difference between Democrats and Republicans in healthcare policy making is that “Democrats tend to want to dictate very specifically what should happen; they don’t want to leave any room for chance. Republicans are more into flexibility and optionality as long as you meet certain standards.” She noted that this — the strict interpretation of law — was a factor in the Wheaton College v. Burwell case in 2015.
Jennifer Bell, Chamber Hill Strategies – Reaping the benefits of what is rapidly becoming one of the most successful healthcare-focused shops on K Street.