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The health care lobbyists with Kevin McCarthy's ear

Photo illustration of Kevin McCarthy surrounded by mouths and abstract shapes.

Photo illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

There's really only a handful of lobbyists in Washington who have worked either for or closely with Kevin McCarthy on health policy. That means these five people have a lot of sway.

  • Here's what we were able to find out about them.

1. Will Dunham, policy director at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, left McCarthy's office in October and was most recently the House minority leader's deputy chief of staff.

  • He was McCarthy's top policy staffer for nearly seven years, where he worked with GOP committee staff directors and other staffers involved in four-corner negotiations. He also worked for Steve Scalise at the Republican Study Committee during his 13-year tenure on Capitol Hill.
  • Although he's a self-described policy generalist, Dunham was an important player in the GOP's attempt to repeal and replace the ACA — a common theme among members of this list.

2. Emily Murry, a partner at Tarplin, Downs & Young, served as McCarthy's policy adviser between 2011 and 2014 and senior policy adviser from 2014 to 2016.

  • Murry worked on Capitol Hill for more than a decade, rounding out her time as Ways and Means health subcommittee staff director.
  • Murry helped craft the GOP's ACA alternative. She also had a hand in writing the SUPPORT Act legislation, Medicare reforms, and policies to provide relief from medical device and health insurance taxes, according to a bio on her firm's website.

3. Katie Meyer, head of government affairs at Novocure, worked for McCarthy as a senior policy adviser on health care for almost five years from 2016 to 2021.

  • Meyer worked for McCarthy during repeal and replace. She also assisted with the passage of two pieces of opioid legislation during her time in the House.
  • Meyer also worked for the Senate Finance Committee as a deputy health policy director under Orrin Hatch and as a health policy adviser to the senator.
  • Before that, she worked in the House for four years as a legislative assistant for Rep. Jeff Fortenberry and later Rep. Erik Paulsen. Under Paulsen, she led the effort to repeal the medical device tax.
  • She currently works on medical technology innovation issues.

4. Marty Reiser, a principal at S-3 Group, left Scalise's office in September 2021, where he was the policy director.

  • He was the whip's office lead on all major legislation, including — you guessed it — ACA repeal and replace. He's also deeply knowledgeable on tax, trade and pensions and spent more than a year working on the select coronavirus committee, in addition to his other responsibilities.
  • Before starting in Scalise's office in July 2014, Reiser worked on the Ways and Means health subcommittee beginning in 2011.

5. Caleb Graff, senior director of federal affairs for biotech company Genentech, advised McCarthy on health policy for five months in 2019.

  • Graff has also worked on the Hill in the Ways and Means health subcommittee, in John Boehner's office, and on the House Budget, Energy and Commerce and Senate Finance committees. He's been at Genentech since May.
  • Graff advised lawmakers on topics including Medicaid, 340B, Medicare Advantage, private insurance and health savings accounts during his tenure on Capitol Hill, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Bonus: Some health lobbyists may not have worked for McCarthy directly or as intensely as the ones above, but they're close with Ryan Long, who is currently McCarthy's senior policy adviser.

1. Charlotte Ivancic, a partner at Tarplin, Downs & Young (with Murry!), left Boehner's office in 2015, where she was the then-speaker's health policy adviser. Before that, she worked for Paul Ryan on the House Budget Committee and for Bill Frist when he was Senate majority leader.

  • At Budget, she worked on Ryan's Medicare reform proposals. Under Boehner — when McCarthy was whip — she was instrumental in the push to pass MACRA, which repealed the "doc fix" and created a new payment system.
  • You can read more about her work here (and you may even recognize the author!).

2. Paul Edattel, a principal at Todd Strategy Group, left Energy and Commerce in 2018, where he was chief counsel for health. Beyond repeal and replace, he worked on health issues including Medicare, Medicaid, 340B and public health policy.

  • Although he began working at E&C in 2011, he also did a brief stint in Boehner's office in 2015.

3. Monica Popp, a founding partner at the lobbying firm Marshall & Popp, previously advised House Republicans on health care as professional staff on the Energy and Commerce Committee. 

  • She then moved to the Senate as chief of staff for Sen. John Cornyn.
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