Capitol Perspectives

The Capitol Perspectives column is written by John McManus, president and founder of The McManus Group, a consulting firm specializing in strategic policy and political counsel and advocacy for healthcare clients with issues before Congress and the administration. Prior to founding his firm, McManus served Chairman Bill Thomas as the staff director of the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, where he led the policy development, negotiations, and drafting of the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003. Before working for Chairman Thomas, McManus worked for Eli Lilly & Company as a senior associate and for the Maryland House of Delegates as a research analyst.
  • Trump Threatens Rx Industry With Executive Orders

    As Trump’s one-month deadline for a deal with PhRMA ticks away, nervous pharmaceutical executives are equally dismissive and anxious about the next actions of an often-impulsive president.

  • Democratic House Passes Rx Price Controls Amid Pandemic

    During this COVID-19 crisis, government should be collaborating closely with industry to promote innovation that will save lives, improve health and bring back prosperity that can come with safely reopening the economy. Yet, it is astonishing that House Democrats have chosen the opposite path.

  • More Nuanced Approach Needed To Fight COVID-19

    When will COVID-based decisions by politicians be guided by mounting data that suggests targeted approaches to containing the pandemic would be beneficial for both the vulnerable and the rest of the population, which must get on living their lives and providing for their families.

  • Assisting Millions Of Uninsured Bogged Down In Abortion Politics

    Controversies over COBRA and abortion coupled with a decline in elective medical procedures plague the healthcare system during this COVID-19 crisis. 

  • $2 Trillion CARES Act Attempts To Keep Health System Afloat

    Just weeks ago, America had the lowest unemployment rate in history, the stock market was setting record highs, and the political system had become so poisoned that the speaker of the House and the president, fresh off the Senate acquittal of impeachment articles, were not speaking to each other. That seems like a  dream that was eons ago.

  • “Surprise Medical Bills” May Displace Rx Drugs As Healthcare Focus In 2020

    The same politics that fuel patient ire at the drug industry for rising out-of-pocket costs manifest in the other major focus of health legislation this year: “surprise medical bills,” which occur when a patient receives care from an out-of-network healthcare provider.

  • Impeachment Halts Health Policy Advancement As Coronavirus Spreads

    As the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump dragged into the latter half of the second week, the wheels of healthcare policy development have ground to a halt.

  • The Bipartisan Dismemberment Of The ACA

    Hours after the House of Representatives impeached President Donald J. Trump, it passed a gargantuan omnibus appropriation package costing $1.4 trillion in 2020 that continues the bipartisan unravelling of the Affordable Care Act (i.e., Obamacare) by repealing three taxes critical to its financing: the “Cadillac tax” on high-cost insurance plans, the medical device excise tax, and the health insurance tax. Together, their repeal costs the federal government $373.3 billion in lost revenue over the next 10 years according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

  • The Risks Of Restructuring Part D

    Despite Speaker Pelosi’s partisan approach to prescription drug pricing legislation, the building blocks for bipartisan consensus on a redesign of Medicare Part D’s outpatient drug benefit are being laid for a possible deal in Q1 of 2020.

  • Speaker Pelosi’s Unconstitutional Rx Bill

    Red flags have gone up regarding the vast overreach of Speaker Pelosi’s sweeping bill (H.R. 3), raising concerns that its key provisions that would enable the government to dictate prescription drug prices may be deemed unconstitutional.

  • Pelosi Bill’s Head Shot To The Rx Industry

    Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) unveiled her long-awaited, sweeping “Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019” (HR 3) that would establish price controls for up to 250 branded drugs, not just for government programs, but for all commercial contracts as well!

  • Hospitals Drive More Costs, Get Less Scrutiny

    Stepping back from the political hyperbole driving the prescription-drug debate is that American taxpayers, patients, and employers spend far more on hospitals than pharmaceuticals. Yet hospitals receive very little scrutiny of their escalating costs.

  • Republicans … Insert Price Controls In Part D

    No one is arguing that enacting price controls in Medicare Part D means they would be applicable in nongovernment commercial contracts. But requiring rebates for price increases that exceed an arbitrary index obviously is a price control in Medicare.

  • Arbitration For Pharmaceuticals?

    The concept known as “arbitration” to resolve billing disputes between out-of-network providers and insurers on surprise medical bills could spell doom for the pharmaceutical industry if it is cross-walked into the prescription-drug debate.



  • What Does Travel Look Like For You In 2021?

    With the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare conference going virtual in January of 2021, Rob Wright asks readers about their business travel plans for next year, and includes anonymized thoughts on posed questions from two Life Science Leader editorial advisory board members.

  • It’s Time We Ready Americans For The COVID-19 Long Haul

    Rob Wright issues a call to action to everyone connected to the biopharmaceutical industry, recommending they begin communicating the realities of developing and distributing a COVID-19 vaccine by the end of this year.