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Charlotte Ivancic, Medicare Dragon – Slayer
– Rob Kunzig

Charlotte Ivancic was at a staff retreat last January with her boss, House Speaker John Boehner, when he told her he wanted the impossible.

“We had this open mic period, and one of the staff asked him: what’s the one thing you really want to get done?” she said.

Boehner’s reply? Repeal Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate.

“I remember looking up and thinking, ‘We really need to make a last-ditch effort to see if there’s any possibility,’” Ivancic said in an interview.

It was January. The SGR, a long-reviled formula bricked into Medicare, would automatically reduce physician payments in February. Ivancic was Boehner’s top health advisor. If the boss wanted SGR gone, the task fell to her.

“If you’d asked me in the fall of 2014 or even December, I would have said absolutely not,” she said.

Congress had long strived to repeal the SGR, but partisan politics and the hefty price tag of undoing the physician pay formula had stymied efforts until then. Instead, Congress passed a series of patches, often known as the “doc fix,” to preserve the pay cuts. After 13 years, the doc fix had become something of a congressional tradition, and a bitter joke about the institution’s efficacy.

Deals like can take months of negotiation; Ivancic had weeks. On top of that, she had an eight-month-old son at home, her third.

Easy, right?

But the deal came together with surprising speed: It would cost $210 billion to slay the dragon, with a handful of cuts generating $70 billion in savings. The Medicare And Chip Reauthorization Act passed with a thunderclap of a bipartisan vote: 392-37 in the House, and 92-8 in the Senate.

Rather than take credit, Ivancic sends it across the aisle.

“The openness of Leader Pelosi and her staff is why this all came together, right?” she said. She knew offsetting the repeal’s cost would mean tip-toing on territory usually considered no-go for Democrats – sharper means testing, cuts to Medigap coverage.

“Those are things we’ve tried to get out of every process, and we’ve never been successful,” she said. If the Democrats would budge on those few crucial pay-fors, she said, “that would be significant.”

Ivancic got into health care policy while working at Children’s Hospital Boston. “I didn’t actually know that I wanted to work in health care – the job was posted at a career center at my college,” she said. The position required strong writing and editing skills, and Ivancic, an English-philosophy double major from Wheaton College in Norton, Mass., was figured she was suited.

“I think that’s the first time I saw the overlap of law and medicine, and I kind of had some interest develop at the time.” When she studies law at Boston University, she focused on how federal regulations affect patient care.

She arrived on the Hill shortly after securing her J.D., working as health policy counsel for then-Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.). From there, she spent time on the staff of then-Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) before making her way to the House Budget Committee with Rep. Paul Ryan.

Ryan wanted to work on entitlement reform, she said, as part of a suite of comprehensive reforms dubbed the “Roadmap For America’s Future.”

“He’s great fun,” she said of Ryan. “He’s really smart, very thoughtful, and he’s a lot of fun to work for, and he really thinks about how all these things work together.” While Ryan’s plan,″>H.R. 6110, languished in the Ways & Means Committee, it gave Ivancic a taste of the hazards of large-scale entitlement reform.

Ivancic left Boehner’s staff in August to work at Tarplin, Downs & Young, a lobbying firm formed by other former Capitol Hill healthcare staffers. For now, she’s settling into her new job and enjoying the last days of summer.

“We have 3 boys who are very energetic, so we spend a lot of time outside,” she says. “We ride bikes around the city, we hike, we’re always out there.”

Ivancic says she’s not sure the SGR repeal will pave the way for broader entitlement reform. The SGR reform worked because of the “action-forcing event” of the physician pay cut.

“That was really critical to making this all work,” she said. “That can’t be oversold. It got people to the table.”

Still, she said, nothing’s impossible.

“I think my hope is that people point back to SGR and say we were able to do those things here, and we were able to come together in a bipartisan way.”



Top Boehner health aide leaving
– Page Winfield Cunningham

House Speaker John Boehner’s top health aide is leaving the Hill and joining a top healthcare lobbying firm next month.

Charlotte Ivancic, who played a major role earlier this year in negotiating a replacement to a failed Medicare payment formula, will join Tarplin, Downs & Young as a partner on Sept. 1, according to a release sent Wednesday by the firm.

Ivancic had worked in the House since 2007, first working for former Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan before moving over to the speaker’s office. Before that, she worked in the Senate for former Majority Leader Bill Frist.

Boehner said, Ivancic leaves “Boehnerland” with “the deepest respect.”

“From the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades to groundbreaking steps to improve veterans’ health care, Charlotte has spearheaded some of our most significant accomplishments on behalf of the American people,” he said in a statement.


Boehner Aide to Join Tarplin, Downs and Young
– Brianna Ehley, Brett Norman and Paul Demko

House Speaker John Boehner’s top health adviser, Charlotte Ivancic, will join Tarplin, Downs and Young as a partner on Sept. 1. The high-powered lobbying firm’s clients are a Who’s Who in the health care sector: PhRMA, BIO, Amgen, AstraZeneca, AdvaMed, AARP, Anthem and BCBSA. Ivancic, who was deeply involved in passing the permanent “doc fix” this year, previously worked for Rep. Paul Ryan and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. “She’s just at the top of her game in the health care space and will bring value to all of our clients,” partner Raissa Downs tells PULSE. “She has tremendous strategic instincts, tons of experience and contacts with all the right folks.”


Top Boehner health aide leaving for lobbying firm
– Peter Sullivan

Charlotte Ivancic, Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) top health policy aide, is leaving his office to join the lobbying firm Tarplin, Downs & Young, the firm announced Wednesday.

Ivancic led the negotiations for Boehner on the repeal of Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate this year. The elimination of the annual Washington headache of automatic cuts to doctors under Medicare, after negotiations with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was a significant achievement.

“From the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades to groundbreaking steps to improve veterans’ health care, Charlotte has spearheaded some of our most significant accomplishments on behalf of the American people,” Boehner said in a statement. “She is one of the best I’ve seen at bringing people together to find common ground, and she leaves Boehnerland with the deepest respect — and best wishes — of her peers as well as lawmakers from both parties.”

Before joining Boehner’s office, Ivancic had worked for Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).

Tarplin, Downs & Young was founded in 2006 by former Republican healthcare staffers in the Bush administration and on Capitol Hill. It also has former Democratic staffers.

“Our clients will clearly benefit from her health policy expertise and her impressive track record of executing successful legislative strategies for complex issues,” the firm said in a statement.


The Top-Performing Lobbying Firms of 2014
Tony Costello, Jorge Uquillas and Ken Monahan

Tarplin, Downs & Young is named one of the top 10 performers of 2014. “Ten firms displayed impressive performance in 2014 by exceeding thresholds is several key metrics; growth, accretive growth, customer satisfaction and revenue per registered lobbyist.”


How Healthcare’s Washington Lobby Machine Gets the Job Done
Paul Demko

“Tarplin, Downs & Young is among the most sought-after with healthcare contracts amounting to roughly $5 million last year.”


Tarplin, Downs & Young Hires Hoyer Aide Elizabeth Murray

Tarplin, Downs & Young snagged House Democratic Whip Hoyer aide Elizabeth Murray, who joins the health care firm on June 2.

Murray served on the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance committees in her 15 years on Capitol Hill, and areas she focused on include the Affordable Care Act. Most recently, she was Hoyer’s senior policy adviser.

Tarplin, Downs & Young represents a long list of mostly brand biopharmaceutical and medical device makers, including the three major trade groups in those sectors, AbbVie, Pfizer, Amgen and AstraZeneca, according to lobbying records.

– John Wilkerson


Tarplin, Downs & Young Hires Hoyer Adviser

A former senior policy adviser to House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) will join Tarplin, Downs and Young next month, the lobby firm announced Tuesday.

The new hire, Elizabeth Murray, has served in a variety of senior advisory roles to Democrats in both the House and Senate, including in the office of former Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.).

Murray’s expertise in healthcare issues spans the Affordable Care Act and well as Medicare, Medicaid and public health legislation, the firm said.

Tarplin, Downs and Young is a well-known bipartisan healthcare lobby shop whose clients include pharmaceutical companies, device manufacturers and insurers.

“We are very fortunate to have someone with Liz’s experience in healthcare legislation and knowledge of the regulatory process joining our firm,” said Linda Tarplin, a founding partner of the firm.

“Our clients will clearly benefit from her health policy expertise and her proven ability to create and implement legislative strategies for complex issues.”

– Elise Viebeck


Tarplin, Downs & Young is listed as one of the top 10 women-owned lobbying and public affairs firms in Washington.


Includes Tarplin, Downs & Young, LLC in its list of top lobbyists.


Tarplin Downs & Young is listed as one of the top 10 lobby shops by fees collected from January 1, 2009 to March 31, 2010.

Regarding the health care reform legislation, “It’s been a while since we’ve seen something of this scope and magnitude,” said Linda Tarplin, a founding partner of Tarplin, Downs & Young. Her firm ranked 10th among lobby shops in health care business during the five-quarter period, collecting $4.5 million in revenues.

But Tarplin also noted that her firm, which is different than the others on the top 10 because it specializes exclusively in health care, finds health care issues “are always important and will remain front and center as the new health care reform law is implemented.”


Tarplin, Downs & Young tied for the second place in a list of firms that received the largest amount of lobby fees from 21 health trade groups and companies in second quarter of 2009.

“In the health care area, it’s very important to clients that the consultants they hire have substantive backgrounds in the issue,” Linda Tarplin said. White House and Capitol Hill experience runs deep at the firm: Tarplin served in senior health positions under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush; Raissa Downs was a top aide to Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., the ranking member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions panel; and lobbyist Michelle Easton held the post of chief health counsel to Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., the Finance Committee chairman.


“Healthcare lobbying firm Tarplin, Downs & Young has grabbed Michelle Easton, the Chief health staffer to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus.”


“’Healthcare legislation continues to become a bigger part of what Congress does, and working on healthcare legislation continues to become more complicated and more important,’ Tarplin says…”

“The veteran healthcare lobbyist recently launched the small specialty healthcare shop with two colleagues who have similar experience and similarly top-quality contacts in the executive branch and Congress.”

“’ We’re all well-connected in the … [Department of Health and Human Services] and White House and Hill arenas,’ says Tarplin.”

“Raissa Downs and Jennifer Young are Tarplin’s partners. Downs joins the firm from Barbour Griffith & Rogers after working as a senior member of the HHS legislative-affairs shop during this administration and a senior aide to Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.). Young is new to lobbying, having left HHS last year as assistant secretary for legislation. Her résumé bears a rare and distinctive feature: She has worked on both the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. Her experience is rounded out by an earlier stint at the National Governors Association.”

“Tarplin is counting on the partners’ combination of political savvy, policy expertise and inside access to make them stand out in a crowded, competitive field.”


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