The congressional aides who helped write last year's Medicare reform law are finding that their knowledge and experience pays.
Linda Fishman, who served as health policy director for the Senate Finance Committee and played a central role in Medicare reform negotiations, has left lawmaking to join the private sector. Fishman is one of several health policy aides involved in Medicare reform to vacate Capitol Hill after passage of the measure.
Fishman is now employed by the law firm of Hogan & Hartson, where she serves as senior health policy adviser.
Mark Hayes, a pharmacist by training and a health policy adviser to Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), has been tapped to take over Fishman's slot. Hayes, 37, has also worked in the government affairs office of drugmaker Hoffman-La Roche.
Fishman was traveling last week and could not be reached for comment before deadline. In a news release announcing her joining Hogan & Hartson, the firm's health practice director said: "During her 20-year career as a health policy advocate, Linda has been involved in some of the most important reform legislation of this era."
Colin Roskey, who served on the Republican side of the Senate Finance Committee along with Fishman, left Congress shortly after the Medicare bill passed last December to join Alston & Bird, the same law firm that hired former CMS Administrator Tom Scully days later.
On the House side, John McManus left earlier this month to start his own health policy consulting firm. McManus, 34, worked for House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.).
At least one Democratic aide has been successful finding a new post in the private sector. In January Sarah Walter, legislative director for Sen. John Breaux (D-La.), joined Venn Strategies, a self-described bipartisan, political and public affairs consulting practice.
"I don't think of the Hill staff expertise as lost, rather redeployed to the private sector-together with CMS, that's where the real action is for the next several years anyway," says Alec Vachon, president of the Washington lobbying firm Hamilton PPB, referring to the slate of regulations that will put the Medicare law into practice.