In the News
Breakaway Policy Strategies Releases Updated Comprehensive Health Policy Savings Matrix
- May 08, 2013
Washington, D.C. – As policymakers on both sides of the political aisle continue to search for solutions to our federal budget crisis, Breakaway Policy Strategies today released an updated comprehensive Breakaway Health Policy Savings Matrix that compares and contrasts the key health reform elements in twelve of the most prominent deficit reduction proposals and compendiums.
Over the next decade, projected federal government spending on health care will grow faster than all other categories of government programs, including Social Security and defense spending. As a result, dozens of prominent organizations, as well as various federal government agencies and legislators, are offering recommendations about how to slow federal health spending. These proposals are voluminous, complex, and often incorporate economic projections about future costs and savings. Moreover, the recommendations vary in category and specificity, so it is difficult to determine areas of agreement. Capitol Hill staff, news media, and health care industry stakeholders need help understanding which proposals reflect a consensus – or at least point to similar conclusions.
The Breakaway Health Policy Savings Matrix is the first-of-its-kind tool that allows users to compare the differences and see the similarities in these proposals. It also shows projected budgetary savings, where available, for each recommendation. The Matrix is comprehensive, searchable, and organized by program area.
The Breakaway team recently updated the Matrix to reflect changes in the latest Bowles-Simpson proposal, the President's Budget, and Rep. Paul Ryan's Budget. It also includes entirely new additions from Sen. Patty Murray's FY 2014 Budget, the Bipartisan Policy Center, and the Brookings Institution. The Matrix is available here.
Team of Prominent Physicians Join Breakaway Policy Strategies
- May 08, 2013
Washington, D.C. – Breakaway Policy Strategies, LLC announced today that three prominent physicians with deep policy expertise and business experience will form the firm's new Medical Advisory Board, bringing clinical expertise to health care organizations facing complex policy changes. The Senior Medical Advisors are Dr. Jan Berger, Dr. James Fasules and Dr. Michael Miller. The combined experience of these physicians in academic medicine, corporate America, and on Capitol Hill will enhance Breakaway's capability to provide a full range of consulting services to its health care clients.
Julie Barnes, Executive Director of Breakaway Policy Strategies, said that "Breakaway's distinguished Medical Advisory Board will help clients better understand the real world impact of policy changes that are transforming the U.S. health care system. Their advice is critical during this time of significant changes in the industry, including market consolidation, expanded use of information technology, workforce shortages, Medicare payment reform and the emergence of new value-based delivery models."
Politico Pulse: BREAKAWAY HIRES THREE NEW DOCS
- May 06, 2013
Breakaway Policy Strategies, the new policy shop led by executive director Julie Barnes, has hired three physicians to serve on the firm's new medical advisory board. The new hires are: Dr. Jan Berger, who consults with clients on national and global health business strategies; Dr. James Fasules, who was the senior vice president of advocacy and health policy at the American College of Cardiology, and Dr. Michael Miller, who specializes in quality improvement, medical advances and health care delivery.
Health Policy Analysts Join Breakaway Policy Strategies
- May 02, 2013
Washington, D.C. – Breakaway Policy Strategies, LLC announced today that Anne Pick and Amit Rao joined the health policy team to enhance the services Breakaway provides to its growing client base.
"We are thrilled to have Anne and Amit on board to provide additional substantive depth and research and writing capabilities for Breakaway clients," said Julie Barnes, Breakaway's Executive Director. "They will assist clients to closely monitor and analyze changes in the ever-evolving health policy landscape."
Anne joins Breakaway after two years as a Research Analyst at Dobson DaVanzo & Associates, a health economics and policy consulting firm focusing on helping payers and providers develop, implement, and evaluate health care payment methodologies.
Pioneer ACOs Want Better Quality Measures from CMS
- April 08, 2013
The Pioneers gave CMS a deadline of April 2 to respond to their concerns, since they were to inform CMS by April 30 if they would continue to participate in the program.
However, Julie Barnes, executive director of Breakaway Policy Strategies, said that CMS met with the ACOs and extended the deadline until May 31. The deadline extension will give both sides more time to negotiate, but Barnes said it was in direct response to an “unusual and very public negotiation tactic.
“The letter from the Pioneers was a strong sign that there was agreement among these formidable players that they needed flexibility on the quality measurements--they seem to agree that they need at least more time, if not actual changes to the measurements,” Barnes told BNA.
The ACOs said there was a lack of measurable performance data around 19 of the 31 measures they are required to report on. They offered to work with CMS to develop better measures, but said would leave the program if CMS did not make 2013 a reporting-only year (meaning their payment would not be affected by reporting scores).
As published on http://www.bna.com/
CMS Reverses Course on Cuts
- April 05, 2013
The insurance industry chalked up one of its greatest political victories in recent memory on Monday as the Obama administration reversed course on a proposal to cut Medicare Advantage rates.
After intense lobbying, the agency said Monday that it would change the proposed 2.3 percent cut to those plans to a 3.3 percent boost. That's a significant swing worth billions of dollars to the industry next year alone.
"It's a major victory for health plans," said Dean Rosen, a partner at Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti.
But the decision — and reasoning – are going to have broader implications.
Breakaway Policy Strategies Releases Comphrensive Health Savings Matrix
- March 01, 2013
Washington, D.C. – As the nation braces for across-the-board sequestration cuts to take effect at midnight, and policymakers on both sides of the political aisle continue to search for alternatives, Breakaway Policy Strategies today released a comprehensive Breakaway Health Policy Savings Matrix that compares and contrasts the key health reform elements in eleven of the most prominent deficit reduction proposals and compendiums.
A series of recent reports have highlighted the fact that the nation is on an unsustainable fiscal path. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the federal debt is expected to equal 77 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2023. Moreover, it is clear that health spending is a significant factor. Over the next decade, projected spending in major health care programs will grow faster than all other categories of government programs, including Social Security and defense programs. As a result, dozens of prominent organizations have issued proposals and outlined options over the past few months and years that would slow federal health spending.
“There’s no shortage of proposals to slow health costs and save money in government health programs,” according to Julie Barnes, Executive Director of Breakaway Policy Strategies. “But, until today, there was no effective way to compare these options.”
The Breakaway Health Policy Savings Matrix is the first-of-its-kind tool that allows users to compare the differences and see the similarities in these proposals. It also shows how much each of the options is intended to save. The Matrix is comprehensive, searchable, and organized by program area. The Matrix is available here.
As new proposals emerge, the Breakaway team plans to update the Matrix. Later this year, Breakaway will survey health policy experts and policymakers and issue a report based on these findings regarding which of the proposals are most likely to become law.
Politico Pulse: HERE'S THAT LIST YOU'VE BEEN LOOKING FOR
- March 01, 2013
Breakaway Policy Strategies, which celebrated its launch last night, is planning to release this morning a searchable matrix comparing the health proposals in the top deficit reduction plans, such as the ones put out by the White House, CBO, and Bowles-Simpson. Want to know who has said what about tort reform, FMAP payment cuts or reducing payments to rural providers? It's here.
Read Full Article...
New Health Policy Firm Breakaway Policy Strategies Diverges From Traditional Consulting With New Ways to Reach Goals
- February 06, 2013
Leading Health Policy Experts Say Winning in Today's Health Care Landscape Demands Game Plans Linking Nonpartisan Research Analysis with Political Insights
Washington, D.C. – With President Obama determined to implement his health reform law by its January 2014 start date and the new Congress poised to enact significant changes to Medicare and Medicaid, health expert Dean Rosen announced the launch of Breakaway Policy Strategies, LLC. The firm will provide nonpartisan policy research and bipartisan policy guidance to a wide range of health care stakeholders.
The firm, formed by the partners at top lobby shop Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, Inc. (MVC), will be under the day-to-day direction of executive director Julie Barnes. Barnes comes to Breakaway from the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), where she served as director of health policy. Working together with former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Bill Frist, Barnes oversaw several public-private initiatives designed to create bipartisan solutions to health system challenges.
"With so many urgent and competing demands confronting health care organizations at the same time, the same old game plans just won't work anymore," Rosen said. "Breakaway is all about finding new ways to help a cross-section of leading organizations achieve success in today's complex health care environment. Our research will be sound, our analysis nonpartisan, and our advice rooted in business and political realities."
Rosen, Barnes form Breakaway Policy Strategies
- February 06, 2013
Dean Rosen, a partner at Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, and Julie Barnes, the former health policy director of the Bipartisan Policy Center, have formed Breakaway Policy Strategies to advise on health care.
The firm offers “nonpartisan policy research and bipartisan policy guidance” to an array of health care sectors. Rosen, who worked as an aide for the Senate Health Committee and Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-MN), is the president and CEO. Barnes, who prior to BPC was the acting director of the New America Foundation Health Policy Program during the health reform debate, will run day-to-day operations.
"The private sector needs to understand how policymakers think and public policymakers need to better understand how the private sector works," Barnes said in a release. "Breakaway will aim to bridge those divides."
As published on http://insidehealthpolicy.com
FIRST IN PULSE: BREAKAWAY TO OPEN DOORS
- February 06, 2013
Breakaway Policy Strategies, the health care policy shop developed by the partners at Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, is opening its doors. The group says it will publish regular policy updates — some for clients only, others for everyone — at www.BreakawayPolicy.com. Breakaway, which won't lobby, is peddling policy guidance, research and reports; legislative, budget and regulatory analysis; and message development. Julie Barnes joined the group as executive director from the Bipartisan Policy Center, where she was director of health policy. Dean Rosen, who will maintain his role as partner at MVC, will be president and CEO of Breakaway.
Rosen, Barnes Team Up On Policy
- December 18, 2012
Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti's Dean Rosen and the Bipartisan Policy Center's Julie Barnes tell Pro's Jennifer Haberkorn that they're teaming up to open Breakaway Policy Strategies, a bipartisan health care policy consulting shop. They'll be targeting the D.C. health policy world, as well as casting a wider net to other industries that are trying to figure out the reform law and other areas of health care. They're recruiting for the new firm now, with plans to open the doors next month. Rosen will be the president and CEO, but plans to remain a partner at MVC, which will have partial ownership of Breakaway. Barnes will be the executive director, running day-to-day operations.
As published on https://www.politicopro.com
POLITICO SCOOPLET...Mehlman Vogel to Launch Health Policy Firm
- December 18, 2012
Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti is bringing on Julie Barnes of the Bipartisan Policy Center to serve as executive director of a new MVC-backed health policy firm, Breakaway Policy Strategies. MVC partners are establishing a separate policy firm in early 2013. Dean Rosen will serve as president and CEO, while continuing as a MVC partner. The new entity will work with the lobby shop's clients, but also has plans to grow beyond that and will have further staffing announcements in late January, according to Alex Vogel.
Tom Price: We’ll avert the fiscal cliff
- December 13, 2012
Rep. Tom Price predicted Thursday that Congress and the White House would avert the fiscal cliff — if not by Christmas then just before the new year.
Dean Rosen, a partner at Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, added that "it always looks really, really ugly and then there's a handshake and a signing ceremony."
10 ways falling off the fiscal cliff could hurt your health
- November 30, 2012
If President Barack Obama and Congress cannot reach an agreement on the fiscal cliff, economic experts agree it would be devastating.
Health care providers already complain that the Medicare reimbursement rate is too low. Ultimately, those facilities could stop taking Medicare patients.
"Or there would be a cost shift," said Julie Barnes, director of health policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. "That means, ultimately, they might have to charge private patients more. What else can they do? They've got to meet their expenses."
Boehner comments show tough road ahead for "fiscal cliff" talks
- November 22, 2012
Julie Barnes, director of healthcare policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said the costs associated with getting the new health reforms in place pale in comparison to the much-larger costs of tax and spending issues before lawmakers.
"Small businesses and large businesses are not going to view Obamacare as what's really causing the problem for their competitiveness. The problem is health care costs," Barnes said.
Next up for Obamacare: Launching the exchanges in 2014
- November 20, 2012
Now that the elections saved the health care law from the threat of repeal, the Obama administration and its backers are turning their attention toward getting the law right — before the next elections come around in 2014.
All eyes are on January 2014, when the health insurance exchanges — online portals where individuals and small businesses can get their health coverage — are slated to start covering millions of people. Consumers will have access to tax subsidies, if they qualify, to help them buy coverage, and almost everyone will be subject to the mandate to have insurance.
"Employers just want health benefits for their employees, and they want it to work to remain competitive," said Julie Barnes, director of health policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. "I don't think this is necessarily going to play out as a 'blame the law' game."
Obama, Romney Accuse Each Other of Lying
- August 20, 2012
Campaign officials on both sides speculate the accelerated feel of the race is in part thanks to technology such as Twitter, which allows political reporters and junkies to learn about breaking news, digest and analyze it within minutes. But that rapid turnaround also comes at the expense of deep analysis by reporters, and the public, of the actual details of campaign proposals, says Julie Barnes, director of health policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center.
"This is one of the reasons why it's difficult to talk about any health care reform—it's just complicated," Barnes says. The campaign back-and-forth on the issue of Medicare is a prime example. Barnes says both sides are guilty of misrepresentation on the Medicare issue.
Ryan also said the health care law, known as Obamacare, will use a 15-member unelected board to make annual cuts to Medicare "that will clearly lead to denied care for current seniors." That's not true, Barnes says, as the law explicitly prevents cuts being made that would impact care.
"Yes, the federal budget is busting and Medicare is really at the top of the list of why," Barnes says, adding that it's not just Medicare that's the problem. "Health care spending is out of control. Our economy is in danger because of system-wide health care spending."
Neither Public Nor Private: A Health-Care System Muddling Through
- May 18, 2012
The United States is unique among developed nations in the extent to which it has resisted a government-run health care system. Nevertheless, it has often been said that the United States has the most heavily regulated health care system in the world. What does this mean?
Our problems are exacerbated because, as the Bipartisan Policy Center's Julie Barnes pointed out in a March 2012 "America the Fixable" essay, we pay for most health care on a fee-for-service basis. This creates incentives for physicians to provide as many discrete services as possible to maximize payment (a tendency often justified by an asserted fear of malpractice litigation). Moreover, hospitals, laboratories, imaging facilities, and drug companies are often eager to reward physicians for ordering their products and services. Attempts by the fee-for-service Medicare program to control the amount or payments physicians receive to a "sustainable growth rate" were stymied as utilization of services grew rapidly and intensive lobbying defeated attempts to reduce prices accordingly.
Five health reform fights SCOTUS won't settle
- November 14, 2011
The Supreme Court may settle the constitutionality of the individual mandate in the health care reform law, but that doesn't mean it will settle everything else.
"Upholding the mandate doesn't guarantee that the health law survives. And striking it doesn't guarantee that it's going to go away," said Dean Rosen, a D.C. health attorney who in the past worked for top Hill Republicans.
"The court case is a piece of this — it's an important piece, but only a piece," Rosen added.