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The District Policy Group Digest

December 2020

As 2020 draws to a close, the District Policy Group® (DPG) sends warm holiday greetings to you. As we reflect on 2020, it is clear we have experienced a year unlike any other. Despite the myriad challenges brought on by the pandemic, alongside our clients, colleagues and coalition partners, we have celebrated each other’s successes, empathized with one another’s challenges and have managed through — together. We thank our clients and friends of the firm for another year of partnership and meaningful work and wish everyone good health and all the best in 2021!

The highlights described below illustrate our unwavering commitment to help clients continue to advance their policy and advocacy goals and navigate these unprecedented times. As always, our team is at the ready to support you in your work and, as we embark on a new Congress and a new Administration, we are happy to provide a “policy outlook” presentation as you prepare for taking action on federal appropriations, legislative and regulatory issues.

District Policy Group 2020 Client Summit

In response to client feedback and requests for DPG-hosted networking and professional development opportunities, DPG launched its biennial Client Summit in 2016 — a day of substantive government relations and advocacy programming, professional networking and socializing in our nation’s capital. This year, the DPG Client Summit successfully went virtual with a concise program on October 13. Features included a client panel discussion on “Sharing Advocacy Best Practices and Innovations in the Era of COVID-19” and an off-the-record Election Outlook and Implications “Fireside Chat” with former congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-CA) and former congressman and DPG Special Advisor, Dr. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), moderated by a reporter who covers Capitol Hill. Clients from coast to coast participated and each member of the DPG contributed to the program content. An Advocacy Best Practices Tip Sheet based on Client Summit panel discussions is available here.



We are thrilled to announce that in December DPG leaders Ilisa Halpern Paul and Jodie Curtis were named “Top Lobbyists” in Washington, D.C., by The Hill — the sixth consecutive year for Ilisa and the fourth for Jodie. This prestigious honor recognizes the “key players on K Street” who “stand out for delivering results for their clients in the halls of Congress and the administration.”

On November 10, DPG President Ilisa Halpern Paul and Executive Vice President Jodie Curtis epresented “Looking Through the Beltway Crystal Ball: Post-Election Health Policy Update,” the final session of Faegre Drinker’s Health Care Practice Fall Webinar Series. In addition, over the course of November and December, Ilisa and Jodie collectively delivered twenty keynote presentations, panel remarks and speeches regarding the outlook for — and the analysis of — the election. Ilisa and Jodie’s remarks focus on helping their audiences analyze the outcome and understand what the next session of Congress and the incoming Biden Administration mean for their issues and interests. Dubbed the “Ilisa and Jodie Road Show that Stays Home,” they provide an engaging and insightful overview of what to expect in various industries, including health care, labor, education and trade, offered in a virtual fireside chat format. To see them in action, you can view their November 10 webinar here


Executive Vice President Jodie Curtis and colleague Nate Bolin, Partner and DPG Advisory Board member, presented “Decision 2020: Impact of the Presidential Election on U.S. Trade Policy and Prospects for 2021” on November 18.

On November 17, Jodie was a speaker at the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene’s Annual Meeting. She spoke at a symposium session titled “The Intersection of Science Advocacy, Policy and Social Media” along with ASTMH CEO Karen Goraleski, ASTMH President Joel Breman, and Gideon Hertz, Senior Associate at Burness.

Jodie served as moderator for Faegre Drinker’s November 10 webinar, “An Insider's View of the 2020 Election,” featuring former Representative Luke Messer, former Representative John Delany and Partner Anne Ricchiuto.

Dr. Phil Gingrey, former U.S. Congressman and Senior Advisor to the District Policy Group at Faegre Drinker, published a column in The Columbus Dispatch that brings awareness to spina bifida, a birth defect that occurs when the spine and spinal cord fail to form properly. With October being National Spina Bifida Awareness Month, Dr. Gingrey used the column to share his experiences with spina bifida and to bring attention to one of the nation’s most common permanently disabling birth defects. In his column, “Adults with spina bifida face new set of challenges,” Dr. Gingrey highlights that the disease is now witnessing its first generation of adults, an incredible milestone, considering that the original designation of spina bifida in childhood meant that the vast majority did not survive even into adolescence. And while a generation of adults is “a milestone worth celebrating,” he cautions that with adulthood comes additional challenges associated with the disease. Despite these challenges, Dr. Gingrey shares the promising results uncovered by the spina bifida patient registry, which was created in 2003 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read the column.

Senior Vice President Laura Hanen provided an election impact presentation on November 13 to the Big Cities Health Coalition, which is comprised of the lead health officials from 30 of the country’s largest metropolitan health departments.

In September, Laura presented on congressional efforts to address drug pricing and the telehealth flexibilities resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency at a meeting of the Patient Access Network Foundation’s Alliance Partners, a group of patient organizations. Ilisa Halpern Paul, DPG President, moderated the meeting.

In October 2020, Ilisa Halpern Paul, President of the District Policy Group, and Faegre Drinker colleagues Tricia A. Beckman, Director, Government & Regulatory Affairs; William L Roberts, Partner, Litigation; and Jay A. Warmuth, Partner, Insurance participated in a moderated discussion (available on demand) addressing the various election outcome scenarios and their potential implications for health care policy, including differences in the 2021 health policy agendas of Congress and the executive branch. Topics included:

  • The fate of the ACA
  • The federal COVID-19 response
  • Drug pricing
  • Surprise billing
  • Medicare Part D restructuring
  • Medicare Advantage
  • Medicaid coverage

View the webinar on demand.

DPG Senior Vice President Jim Twaddell moderated the Faegre Drinker Policymaker Insights webinar with Representative Phil Roe (R-TN-1) on July 31. The webinar presented an interactive discussion regarding the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, health care matters and other issues Representative Roe hopes to address in the remaining days of the 116th Congress.

On August 19, Jim represented the District Policy Group at a virtual meeting of the Illinois Group featuring Representative Darin LaHood (R-IL-18). The Illinois Group is composed of Washington representatives of Illinois-based companies and organizations.

Jim presented “Advancing American Kidney Health: Update on the Executive Order” with the American Nephrology Nurses Association (ANNA) at the 2020 ANNA Virtual National Symposium on August 31.

On December 8, Jim Twaddell, Senior Vice President, and Jodie Curtis, Executive Vice President, presented “Post-Election Outlook: What's Next on Capitol Hill” to the Chicago Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel.

In Case You Missed Them: Recent Client Alerts

District Policy Group President Ilisa Halpern Paul and Faegre Drinker Consulting Principal Nick Manetto authored an article for Law360 titled “Anticipating The Biden Administration’s Health Care Agenda,” that breaks down the health care issues the 117th Congress are likely to address and the strategies they may use.

The authors noted how the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Senate election and the development of the pandemic will impact the health care agenda and negotiations used by the Biden administration. “A divided government will likely result in an aggressive use of regulatory tools by the incoming Biden administration to pursue policies unable to clear a Republican Senate,” the authors said. They went on to outline COVID-19 pandemic-related issues expected in the congressional health care agenda and health care topics beyond COVID-19 likely to be addressed, concluding that “wild cards including a raging pandemic and a pending U.S. Supreme Court case may shift the agenda at any time.” Read the full article.

Ilisa Halpern Paul, President; Jodie Curtis, Executive Vice President; and Nicholas Manetto, Principal at Faegre Drinker Consulting authored a November 17 client alert providing a high-level overview of how the November 3, 2020, election results will impact certain health care issues and policies. The analysis assumes that the Biden-Harris Electoral College win will be certified and that the Senate will remain in Republican control. Read the alert.

November 11, 2020: The Affordable Care Act at Risk American Health Policy at a Crossroads

We are at a major crossroads in U.S. health policy. The direction for American health care in 2021 and beyond will depend in large part on events that are unfolding now, and that will come to fruition in the first half of 2021. Foremost among those events are the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the validity of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), a decision the Court is considering now and will hand down in the first half of 2021, and the final results of the general elections to determine the political dynamic in the Congress come January 2021. Read the full article authored by Ilisa Halpern Paul, President of the District Policy Group, and Faegre Drinker colleagues Tricia A. Beckman, Director; William L. Roberts, Partner; Nicholas J. Nelson, Associate; and David O. Ault, Counsel.