A se­na­tor with stay­ing power

Modern Healthcare - - COVER STORY -

AU.S. se­na­tor for 31 years and the au­thor of more than 2,000 some­times hard-tode­ci­pher Twit­ter mes­sages, Chuck Grass­ley also has had a long run on the an­nual 100 Most In­flu­en­tial rank­ings.

While he fin­ished No. 56 this year, the low­est place­ment for the 78-year-old Repub­li­can law­maker from Iowa, he re­mains the only elected of­fi­cial to make the list in all 11 years of its ex­is­tence.

Grass­ley, who had his high­est place­ment at No. 5 in 2009, cred­its his longevity on the rank­ings to a num­ber of fac­tors, in­clud­ing his seat on the Se­nate Fi­nance Com­mit­tee, his cham­pi­oning of equal pay and qual­ity for ru­ral health­care, his ad­vo­cat­ing for med­i­cal mal­prac­tice re­form and his role in Medi­care and Med­i­caid pro­gram over­sight where he works to make sure “bu­reau­crats are en­forc­ing the law as in­tended.”

He also cites his co­op­er­a­tive role in the com­mit­tee’s lead­er­ship with Sen. Max Bau­cus (D-Mont.), the panel’s chair­man. He said that for more than a decade, the two have been able to reach con­sen­sus on all but three or four bills (with the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act in­cluded in that to­tal).

“That stems from the fact that he and I for that length of time would meet ev­ery Tues­day from 5 to 6 (p.m.) to go over the agenda,” Grass­ley said. “Our staffs have also met and de­vel­oped even closer re­la­tion­ships.”

If Mitt Rom­ney wins the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and Republicans take con­trol of the Se­nate, Grass­ley said the Af­ford­able Care Act will be re­pealed and re­placed.

“It’s go­ing to be just like it was in 2009— only with a dif­fer­ent out­come,” Grass­ley said, adding that if Pres­i­dent Barack Obama is re­elected, there will be less work and more over­sight. He also pre­dicted that there will be a “tremen­dous short­fall in rev­enue,” which will re­quire amend­ing the law. “We’re go­ing to find a lot of things that will have to be re­done,” Grass­ley said. “There will be a call for some changes in the bill that will save money.”

The other peren­nial names on the an­nual rank­ings are: Drew Alt­man, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Henry J. Kaiser Fam­ily Foun­da­tion, No. 55; Rose Ann DeMoro, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Na­tional Nurses United/AFL-CIO, No. 36; Thomas Dolan, pres­i­dent and CEO, Amer­i­can Col­lege of Health­care Ex­ec­u­tives, No. 89; Trevor Fet­ter, pres­i­dent and CEO, Tenet Health­care Corp., No. 30; Karen Ig­nagni, pres­i­dent and CEO, Amer­ica’s Health In­sur­ance Plans, No. 72; Chip Kahn, pres­i­dent and CEO, Fed­er­a­tion of Amer­i­can Hos­pi­tals, No. 33; and Wayne Smith, chair­man, pres­i­dent and CEO, Community Health Sys­tems, No. 25.

Grass­ley cred­its his watch­dog role for the on­go­ing recog­ni­tion.

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