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This Week in Washington - May 12, 2020

May 12, 2020

COVID-19 continues to impact our families, our communities, our state, and our country. It created a health crisis, which created an economic crisis – and Washington’s necessary response to both crises may indeed cause a fiscal crisis. Steve Gordon and Erik Paulsen bring you up-to-date on how the Administration and Congress continue to respond to these crises in “Heard on the Hill.” Dana Marston shares highlights of this week’s Congressional hearings, then takes a closer look at the latest unemployment figures, how COVID-19 disrupted this tax filing season, and shares useful briefing sheets on the municipal bond market and the strategic national stockpile.

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Erik Paulsen named to BPC Behavioral Health Integration Task Force

April 30, 2020

Former Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN), a Strategic Consultant to Total Spectrum, is participating on a Bipartisan Policy Center Behavioral Health Integration Task Force to improve the integration of primary and behavioral health care to achieve better health outcomes and reduce costs. A recent poll found that 50% of Americans said that their mental health has been impacted by stress caused by the coronavirus. The Task Force also released on April 30 recommendations to quickly address the urgent need to access behavioral health care as our nation faces the COVID-19 pandemic. We applaud Erik for his involvement. The April 30th press release can be read in full at the below link.

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This Week in Washington - April 29, 2020

April 29, 2020

It is a pleasure to welcome former Congressman Erik Paulsen to Total Spectrum and to This Week in Washington. Those of you who met Erik when he represented Minnesota in Congress and served on the House Ways and Means Committee know of both his intellect and uncommon common sense. There has been a great amount of discussion about the significant amount of our health care needs that are manufactured overseas. A bipartisan group of Senators passed a bill – which ultimately became part of the CARES Act – that asked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to assess the vulnerability and dependence that overseas production of our health care products puts on our country. Steve Gordon and Erik Paulsen interviewed Joe Carson, a supply side expert, to get his thoughts and ideas on this in our cover story. In Heard on the Hill, Steve Gordon writes about our health crisis, our economic crisis, and our fiscal crisis and how Congress and the Administration are reacting to them. Dana Marston looks at COVID-19 in other ways: the USDA’s plans to assist commodity markets, trends in retail sales due to the virus, and concentrations in COVID-19 diagnoses across the country.

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This Week in Washington - April 16, 2020

April 16, 2020

The health crisis surrounding COVID-19 and the economic crisis resulting from the decision to shut down America to prevent the spread of the virus continues to impact almost every American. Steve Gordon’s Heard on the Hill summarizes where we are in both crises by the numbers, Washington’s response so far, the additional response that’s sure to come, and thoughts on Standing up America. Ramona Lessen found a speech from her former boss, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, MD, in which he predicted in 2005 a viral pandemic and made recommendations on how America should both prepare and deal with it. Dana Marston takes a closer look at a few policy changes to ensure our medical workforce can best respond to COVID-19, at who is getting a CARES Act stimulus check, and emergency money allocated to help carry out America’s elections.

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This Week in Washington - April 6, 2020

April 6, 2020

Arizona has so far escaped the worst effects of the COVID-19, thank goodness. But we are all affected by the impact of the economic shutdown. Steve Gordon, Stephen Ruhlen, and Mike Joyce wrote Heard on the Hill, which focuses on the economic crisis, the recently passed stimulus bill 3, and the discussion around additional stimulus bills 4 and 5. Al Jackson provides a defense update, and Dana Marston looks at the coronavirus’ projected impact on the travel industry, the national mortality rate, unemployment, and finally, a downward trend in gasoline prices. COVID-19 will impact on our health care, our economy, our lives, and our politics. We will continue to cover it from all sides in the next issue of This Week.

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This Week in Washington - March 26, 2020

March 26, 2020

The unparalleled events of the last few weeks required an unparalleled response from Washington. Stimulus 3.0 – which the Majority Leader and others are correctly calling a relief bill – provides over $2 trillion in relief, and was passed unanimously by the Senate, and will be passed on Friday by the House of Representatives. The total appropriated in 1.0, 2.0, and now 3.0 is now over $2.308 trillion. Of interest - Stimulus 3.0, at $2.2 billion, is the largest single injection of federal cash into the economy in U.S. history. Steve Gordon and Todd Smith summarize 3.0 -- the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economy Security Act, and provide links to the entire piece of legislation and key sections. Dana Marston looks at coronavirus’ transmission, rates of growth both here and abroad, and how it’s affecting both patients and industries. She also takes a dive into the Defense Production Act. The Senate delayed its planned recess to work on and pass this bill, and then recessed. Members of the House have been working in their districts this week but will pass 3.0 by voice vote on Friday and will return to Washington after Easter. We will monitor activity while the Senate and House are out of town. Stay healthy.

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