More political reach

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'New' AHCA mantra: House Speaker Dennis Hastert made a surprise visit to a gathering of nursing home providers last month in Washington. The appearance of the man just "two heartbeats" from the Oval Office sent a sublime message that complemented his brief talk and patient grip-and-chat session. This was a notable achievement for a "new look" American Health Care Association, the nation's largest long-term care trade group.

Since hiring former U.S. Congressman Hal Daub to become their new president and CEO last summer, AHCA leaders have made no secret about plans to ratchet up advocacy efforts in political circles. And Daub has not let them down.
He has outlined a bold plan to get hundreds more AHCA members in front of various U.S. lawmakers, raise millions more dollars for the association's political action committee and exert more influence in the nation's capital.
"We've been too timid," Daub says.
Some have been lukewarm to the idea of "playing politics." But others have embraced the new drive, calling it critical in a field where government spending accounts about three quarters of all provider payments.