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In-Person and Online Briefing: Making Health Policy: How the Money Matters

January 22, 2015

On Thursday, January 22, 2015, the District Policy Group held a panel discussion on the role of health economics in federal policymaking. Ilisa Halpern Paul, President of the District Policy Group moderated the panel, which included a former Bush Administration HHS Official, former Senate Finance Committee Advisor, and the Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Government Affairs at the March of Dimes.

In an environment of tightening public and private budgets, clinical advances with the potential to reduce health care spending are often easier to justify to payers than more costly options. Understanding how policymakers consider the economics of health care, the introduction of new technologies, and how overall health care spending is changing are critical questions. Health economist, former Bush Administration official, and District Policy Group Advisor, Dr. Michael O’Grady, provided a comprehensive overview of today’s health economics landscape. Shawn Bishop, former Senior Advisor to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, provided a legislative perspective, and Cindy Pellegrini, Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Government Affairs at the March of Dimes, offered insight on how these factors affect advocacy groups and government relations efforts. 

To view the discussion, please click here.

For presentation slides, please click here.

Meet the Panelists: 
Michael J. O’Grady, Ph.D.
is a Principal of O’Grady Health Policy LLC, a private health consulting firm where he provides health policy research and analysis for public, non-profit, and private sector entities, as well as a member of the District Policy Group's Advisory Board. He is a Senior Fellow at NORC at the University of Chicago. Michael previously served as the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from 2003 to 2005, during the George W. Bush Administration, and as the senior health economist on the majority staff of the Joint Economic Committee of the U.S. Congress. In addition, he previously held senior staff positions at the Senate Finance Committee, the Bipartisan Commission for the Future of Medicare, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, and the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress.

Shawn Bishop is the principal and owner of SB Health Policy Consulting. While starting her own practice, Shawn was also a Senior Vice President at the Marwood Group, a health care-focused advisory and consulting firm in Washington, D.C. Prior to her position with The Marwood Group, Ms. Bishop served as a senior advisor to former Senate Finance Committee Chairman, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), where she worked on various health care policy issues, including Medicare Advantage, prescription drug benefits, and other entitlement programs. During debate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, Shawn had primary responsibility for major reforms including Medicare Advantage and the Part D coverage gap, issues surrounding the funding for comparative effectiveness research through the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), and reinsurance programs on the ACA healthcare exchanges. Ms. Bishop also served as a Principal Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), where she scored legislation and prepared budget projects of the Medicare Advantage program, and she served as an analyst for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Prospective Payment Assessment Commission, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). Shawn received a Master of Public Policy degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. from the University of California, Irvine.

Cynthia Pellegrini is Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Government Affairs at the March of Dimes. In this capacity, Ms. Pellegrini oversees all March of Dimes advocacy efforts at the federal level and in all 50 States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Key March of Dimes policy priorities include access to health care for all women of childbearing age and children; research into prematurity, birth defects, and other aspects of reproductive and child health and development; and disease prevention and health promotion issues. Ms. Pellegrini serves as the consumer representative on the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and currently represents the March of Dimes on the National Quality Forum’s National Priorities Partnership and Maternity Action Team. She also serves on the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative, Families & Consumers Center leadership cabinet, and the National Campaign on Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy’s Public Policy Advisory Group. Prior to joining March of Dimes, Ms. Pellegrini served as Associate Director for Federal Affairs at the American Academy of Pediatrics, where she covered a range of issues including genetics, bioethics, child abuse and neglect, environmental health, nutrition, obesity, and injury and violence. She also worked for more than a decade on Capitol Hill, including positions as chief of staff for Rep. Louise Slaughter (NY) and covering health care, women’s health, and other issues.