Elections Help Cement Health Law As Part Of National Landscape, But Changes Still Lie Ahead
Health care was the No. 1 issue among many voters this election, according to a recent survey, and the results seem to speak to the health law's growing popularity in recent years. And with Democrats in control of the House, Republicans will be unable to move forward with any lingering plans for repeal. Meanwhile, ballot measures in several red states and a switch in leadership in Maine could mean that Medicaid could see its biggest boost in enrollment since expansion began. It's not all rosy for the program though: some results could chip away at gains already made in Alaska and Montana.
The Wall Street Journal:
Election Shifts Health-Care Landscape Across The U.S.
The midterm elections abruptly shifted the health-care landscape across the country, strengthening the position of the Affordable Care Act while resulting in a divided Congress that could mean most changes unfold on the state level. Health care was the No. 1 issue among voters this election, according to an AP survey of about 90,000 people. The voting results suggested a rebuke to repeated Republican efforts to roll back the health law, and that many Americans care deeply about issues such as coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. (Armour, 11/8)
Medicaid Expansion In Alaska, Montana Threatened By Midterm Results
Medicaid expansion in Alaska and Montana potentially could be rolled back or repealed as a result of Tuesday's midterm election results. If that happens, it would be the first time the extension of coverage to low-income adults under the Affordable Care Act was ever reversed. (Meyer, 11/8)
Kaiser Health News:
Montana’s Legislature Could Decide Medicaid Expansion’s Fate
A ballot initiative that would have continued funding Montana’s Medicaid expansion beyond June 2019 has failed. But advocates say they’ll continue to push for money to keep the expansion going after that financial sunset. “We now turn our attention to the legislature to maintain Montana’s bipartisan Medicaid expansion and protect those enrolled from harmful restrictions that would take away health insurance coverage,” said a concession statement Wednesday from Chris Laslovich, campaign manager with the advocacy group Healthy Montana, which supported the measure. (Whitney, 11/9)
Medicaid Decisions Move To Montana Legislature
The initiative to raise tobacco taxes to fund health care appeared to be going down to defeat Wednesday as ballots were still being counted around Montana. (11/8)
And in other election news —
The New York Times:
Gretchen Whitmer Of Michigan Was Overlooked. Not Any Longer.
There is a tendency for people to define Gretchen Whitmer by who she is not. Ms. Whitmer was not one of the surprising, insurgent Democratic nominees for governor this cycle, as her campaign for Michigan’s governorship was flush with money and key endorsements from the outset. She did not have the up-from-nothing background story of some other Democratic candidates; after all, a building in downtown Detroit is named for her father, the former chief executive of Blue Cross Blue Shield. She was not Abdul El-Sayed, the fiery leftist whose campaign for governor captured national attention, but who lost badly to Ms. Whitmer in the primary. ... Mr. El-Sayed consistently chided Ms. Whitmer on health care. Though Ms. Whitmer was integral in helping Michigan expand Medicaid in 2013, she refused to back the Medicare-for-all proposal that Mr. El-Sayed and other progressive stalwarts attributed to her close connection with the health care industry and companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield. (Herndon, 11/8)
The Associated Press:
Health Insurers Riding Postelection Wave
Health insurers are extending their postelection streak before the opening bell thanks to several ballot initiatives and the increased chance that a divided Congress that may not repeal the Affordable Care Act. Shares of Centene Corp., WellCare Health Plans Inc. and Humana Inc., up between 7 percent and 9 percent this week, all edged higher in premarket trading, defying the broader markets which are retreating Thursday. The hospital chain HCA Healthcare Inc., up 5 percent for the week, is rising again. (11/8)
Kaiser Health News:
Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Split Decision On Health Care
Voters on Election Day gave control of the U.S. House to the Democrats but kept the U.S. Senate Republican. That will mean Republicans will no longer be able to pursue partisan changes to the Affordable Care Act or Medicare. But it also may mean that not much else will get done that does not have broad bipartisan support. (Rovner, 11/8)