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5 things to know about Trump HHS shaper Paula Stannard

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The Trump transition team added two people to its U.S. Department of Health and Human Services landing team.

One is Andrew Bremberg of Right Policy LLC of Alexandria, Virginia.

The other is Paula Stannard, a project attorney in the Washington office of Alston & Bird LLP.

Related: ACA: Alston experts weigh in on new regs

Bremberg held several positions in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from 2001 through 2009, under President George W. Bush. At one point, he was chief of staff for the HHS Office of Public Health and Science.

From March 2014 through March 2015, he was a health policy advisor for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

But he does not seem to have been out front writing and talking about health policy issues in his own name. A quick search of the web and YouTube does not turn up any Bremberg health policy papers or health policy speeches.

Stannard has been much more visibly involved with health policy issues, and especially with health privacy issues. Here are five things to know about her:

1. Education

Stannard has a bachelor’s degree from Amherst College and a law degree from Stanford University’s law school.

2. Legal career

Stannard was counsel to the HHS general counsel from September 2001 through March 2003, and deputy general counsel at HHS from March 2003 through January 2009.

While she was deputy general counsel, she was responsible for the civil rights and legislation portfolios. She advised the HHS secretary on Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy and data security matters, and she also gave advice on federal health insurance regulatory matters.

She joined Alston & Bird in June 2010.

3. Health information privacy and data security

On Stannard’s LinkedIn page, she’s posted an article about what the entities covered directly by federal health privacy and data security rules, such as insurers, should do about how business associates, such as insurance agents and brokers, are complying with  the rules.

4. Health rights

In 2009, the Federalist Society, a Washington-based conservative legal group, included her with health policy specialists such as Timothy Jost, a law professor who represents consumers at the Kansas City, Missouri-based National Association of Insurance Commissioners, in an online discussion about the role the federal government should play in health care.

Stannard argued that ensuring that everyone has access to affordable health care is “good, charitable and morally right.”

“But establishing a right to health care in statute means that there is a corresponding obligation on the part of someone — usually the government — to provide it.”

Turning a moral obligation into a government obligation could hurt the nature of society, and because of the complexity of defining the parameters of a “universal right to health care,” “the court would inevitably be called upon to interpret the scope of the right to health care,” Stannard wrote. “If the statute does not clearly define such a right to health care, the statute becomes an empty vessel into which almost anything can be placed.”

That could result in courts allocating resources for health care “on the basis of a case with a sympathetic plaintiff before it,” Stannard wrote.

5. YouTube

In October 2013, Stannard appeared in Columbus, Ohio, for a panel discussion about the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion organized by that city’s Buckeye Institute.

The institute, an organization that supports free-market principles and opposes the ACA, posted a video of the panel discussion on YouTube.

Some other panelists vigorously denounced the ACA.

Stannard focused on calmly explaining the nuts and bolts of how the ACA works, and ways a state might or might not be able to get federal regulators to adjust the Medicaid expansion rules to suit it.


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