Axios Pro: Health Care Policy

November 21, 2022

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Good morning, and welcome to our first in a series of reports on the power players in the next Congress.

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1 big thing: Health lobbyists with 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.

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.

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