5 Women Who Shape Health Care Policy

Sylvia Mathews Burwell is guiding the Affordable Care Act into its second year while Karen Ignagni is the health insurance industry’s top representative in Washington.

Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards. 
©2012 Richard A. Bloom
National Journal Staff
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
National Journal Staff
July 25, 2014, 1 a.m.

This year, Na­tion­al Journ­al‘s Wo­men in Wash­ing­ton list fo­cuses on wo­men who ex­er­cise power­ful in­flu­ence in five policy areas: en­ergy, health care, tech­no­logy, de­fense, and edu­ca­tion.

Bur­well, pre­vi­ously dir­ect­or of the White House budget of­fice, re­cently took Kath­leen Se­beli­us’s place as head of HHS. She is pop­u­lar on Cap­it­ol Hill and has a repu­ta­tion as a skilled man­ager. She’ll need those skills as she guides the Af­ford­able Care Act in­to its second year while keep­ing the rest of the de­part­ment hum­ming. Bur­well has already taken steps to re­or­gan­ize HHS, adding new po­s­i­tions with dir­ect over­sight of the in­sur­ance ex­changes.

With dir­ect re­spons­ib­il­ity for Medi­care, Medi­caid, and most of Obama­care, Taven­ner is on the hook for some of the most con­tro­ver­sial de­cisions in health care, from cuts in pro­viders’ Medi­care pay­ments to re­build­ing the ACA’s en­roll­ment sys­tem. Taven­ner, like Bur­well, came in­to the job with strong bi­par­tis­an sup­port and largely avoided any blame for Health­Care.gov’s rocky rol­lout. But CMS has come un­der fire from Re­pub­lic­ans over pro­posed cuts to Medi­care Ad­vant­age, and the agency is still sort­ing through a back­log of in­com­plete Medi­caid en­roll­ments.

Lam­brew, who has a back­ground in aca­demia, is Pres­id­ent Obama’s top health policy ad­viser and has provided a steady hand on the is­sue since the early days of the ad­min­is­tra­tion. She is deeply in­volved in the nitty-gritty of ACA im­ple­ment­a­tion and will have Obama’s ear in the next big front in the health care de­bate: cost con­trol.

As the health in­sur­ance in­dustry’s top rep­res­ent­at­ive in Wash­ing­ton, Ig­nagni has had an in­tense half-dec­ade, hav­ing guided AHIP through the de­bate over the Af­ford­able Care Act. Dur­ing the botched de­but of Health­Care.gov, in­surers ended up do­ing most of the work the web­site was sup­posed to do, thus win­ning cred­ib­il­ity as the pro­tect­ors of Obama­care. Ig­nagni’s next chal­lenge: what’s shap­ing up to be an all-out war between her in­dustry and phar­ma­ceut­ic­al com­pan­ies over the high cost of pre­scrip­tion drugs.

Richards is un­doubtedly one of the most power­ful wo­men in Demo­crat­ic polit­ics, and her status keeps grow­ing amid flare-ups ran­ging from Todd Akin to the Su­preme Court’s rul­ing lim­it­ing Obama­care’s con­tra­cep­tion man­date. She leads Planned Par­ent­hood’s day-to-day op­er­a­tions as well as its polit­ic­al arm, put­ting her squarely at the in­ter­sec­tion of health care policy and polit­ics.

What We're Following See More »
Ethics Cops Clear Mueller to Work on Trump Case
8 hours ago

"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."

Senate Intel to Subpoena Two of Flynn’s Businesses
8 hours ago

Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."

Government Sues Fiat Chrysler Over Emissions
10 hours ago

The government alleges the company put eight “software-based features” on diesel engines in nearly 104,000 Ram pickups and Jeep Grand Cherokees from the 2014 to 2016 model years, which allowed the vehicles to emit fewer pollutants during EPA lab tests than during normal driving conditions.

Brennan Saw Russia Intelligence “Worthy” of Investigation
14 hours ago

At an open hearing of the House Intelligence Committee, former CIA chief John Brennan said he saw information on Trump-Russia contacts that were worth a further look. "Having been involved in many counterintelligence cases in the past, I know what the Russians do. They try to suborn individuals," Brennan said. "And they try to get individuals, including U.S. persons, to act on their behalf, whether wittingly or unwittingly. And I was worried by a number of the contacts that the Russians had with U.S. persons, and so therefore by the time I left office ... I had unresolved questions in my mind."

Trump Enlisting Help of Outside Counsel
15 hours ago

"President Trump is moving rapidly toward assembling outside counsel to help him navigate the investigations into his campaign and Russian interference in last year’s election, and in recent days he and his advisers have privately courted several prominent attorneys to join the effort. By Monday, a list of finalists for the legal team had emerged, according to four people briefed on the discussions."


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.