Midterm Recap: What Do Election Results Mean for Healthcare Legislation?
GHB’s WA Healthcare Series: Part 3, by Casey Meehan
The big story from last week’s midterm elections was the Democrats regaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives, while Republicans retained their majority in the U.S. Senate. Republican’s two-year run controlling both the executive and legislative branches of government ends in January.
Voters from across the country turned out in record numbers last week, an estimated 116 million, to cast their ballots in this year’s midterm elections. That amounts to 49.2% of eligible voters casting their ballots on November 6th–that’s the highest midterm turnout since 1914, when it was 50.4% and women didn’t have voting rights yet.* As a result, more than 80 new representatives and senators and 18 new governors will be sworn in this coming January who will play a crucial role in shaping the debate on the future of healthcare policy at the federal and state levels.
It has been widely reported that voters have cited healthcare as the top legislative priority.
A divided Congress likely means a few things–we won’t see a liberal Medicare-for-All system or conversely, a conservative Repeal-and-Replace overhaul in the coming years. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is still very much the law of the land and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. With a divided Congress, Americans are likely to experience a limited movement on the healthcare front, although there may be some bipartisan agreement on issues related to drug pricing or opioids. Voters are expecting Congress to focus their healthcare agenda on the much-needed fixes to the ACA and prescription drug reform rather than any fundamental changes or overhauls.
As America remains committed to the current private health insurance market, the employer-based healthcare system and the critical role of our providers and administrators in the healthcare system, it’s important to begin working together to enact policy changes to curb the rising healthcare costs that are forcing many Americans out of the coverage they depend upon.
*McCarthy, Niall (2018, November 16) Midterm Elections See Highest Turnout in More Than a Century. Retrieved from forbes.com
Casey Meehan is GHB’s Individual Market Specialist and is the President of a Regional NAHU Chapter.