Fowler believes the biggest challenge this year will be getting the numbers to work by ensuring that the votes are there to pass health care reform.
Various health care lobbyists cited Fowlers work on the prescription drug benefit as an example of her skill in finding compromises.
Still, Fowlers willingness to work with Republicans and the Bush administration on the MMA could be a hindrance to future negotiations, said one Senate Democratic aide, who added that many Democrats felt that Baucus undercut Senate leadership by reaching a deal with the Bush administration.
I think a lot of old-timers are going to remember the fights over the MMA, the staffer said.
Mark Hayes, health policy director and chief health counsel for the Senate Finance Committee Republican staff
Birthplace: Shelbina, Mo.
Education: B.S., pharmacy, University of Missouri-Kansas City; J.D., American Universitys Washington College of Law
Hayes is the lead health care adviser to Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, the ranking member of the Finance Committee, and he prepares his boss for negotiations with Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) on a number of issues, including the ongoing health care reform effort.
Hayes, who also serves as a resource for other Republican committee members, has so much authority that one former Senate Democratic aide referred to him as the 101st Senator.
In working to forge a deal on health care, Hayes says he tries to step back and look at the big picture, figuring out policy differences among members and a way to bridge the gaps between them.
Like his Democratic counterpart, Hayes counts passage of the prescription drug benefit as his greatest health care accomplishment.
He served as the principal Republican staff person responsible for moving the drug benefit through committee and into law, at a time when the GOP was in the majority.
In moving his bosses agenda forward, Hayes uses his ability to explain complex issues in easy-to-understand language, a health insurance lobbyist said. His preparation is also an asset, said Dean Rosen, the former health care adviser to then-Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). Almost no staff person comes to a debate more prepared than Mark Hayes, added Rosen, who now is a lobbyist at Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti.
Kate Leone, senior health counsel to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
Birthplace: Princeton, N.J.
Education: B.A., Cornell University, American studies; J.D., Columbia University
While Leone may see herself as a troubleshooter watching for potential problems within the Democratic caucus her health care peers view her as a deal-maker.
Leone, said one health care activist, is more of a realist than an activist whos not interested at tilting at windmills. This approach is necessary because part of her job is to balance the various interests of the Senate Democratic Conference.
Roll Call has launched a new feature, Hill Navigator, to advise congressional staffers and would-be staffers on how to manage workplace issues on Capitol Hill. Please send us your questions anything from office etiquette, to handling awkward moments, to what happens when the work life gets too personal. Submissions will be treated anonymously.