Now that the 114th Congress is underway, new leaders and committee members have been selected for their roles. Leaders on just a few key committees will have tremendous influence on nearly every federal issue that is relevant to rheumatology. Do you live, practice or have patients in these lawmakers’ districts?
You Might Also Like
Explore This IssueApril 2015
Also By This Author
Lawmakers on the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) and the House Energy and Commerce Committee (E&C) will have jurisdiction in their respective chambers over all issues related to healthcare. Nearly every bill relevant to rheumatology will pass through these committees. The Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee also remain pivotal because of their jurisdiction over CMS, Medicare and Medicaid.
The new lawmakers and leadership to know on these committees include:
Senator Lamar Alexander is the new chairman of the Senate HELP Committee. Senator Alexander was elected from Tennessee in 2002 and has served on the HELP Committee since arriving in the Senate in 2003. His approach to healthcare reform includes allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines; permitting small businesses to join together to offer cheaper insurance to employees; limiting junk lawsuits against doctors; reducing waste, fraud and abuse; and expanding health savings accounts.
Senator Patty Murray is the new ranking member of the Senate HELP Committee. Senator Murray represents the state of Washington in Congress. She became the highest ranking Democrat on the committee after Sen. Tom Harkin’s retirement last year. Sen. Murray’s priorities include expanding quality access to healthcare, supporting research and technological advances, and addressing the shortage of healthcare workers, among other things.
Senator Bill Cassidy is a physician from Louisiana who was newly elected to the Senate in 2014 and selected to serve on the HELP Committee. Prior to arriving in the Senate, Sen. Cassidy was a U.S. Congressman, a faculty member at LSU Medical School and a cofounder of the Baton Rouge Community Clinic, which provided free care to working uninsured.
Senator Orrin Hatch is the new chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Sen. Hatch represents the state of Utah in Congress. His priorities include strengthening Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. He has led past initiatives to increase prescription drug coverage for seniors.
Representative Frank Pallone is the new ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Rep. Pallone was chosen by his caucus to serve in this role after Rep. Henry Waxman’s retirement. Rep. Pallone serves out of New Jersey’s 6th Congressional District. He is an original author of the Affordable Care Act.