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3 Healthcare Hot Topics to Watch in the 2018 Midterm Elections
Disclaimer: Adaptive Medical Partners is not advocating for any position in this post. We are simply providing insight on how the mid-term elections outcome could affect healthcare.
The outcome of the 2018 midterm elections has the potential to mold and recalibrate the next round of healthcare policy in dynamic, enduring ways. While studies show that midterm elections consistently yield lower voter turnout than presidential elections, on November 6, Americans in all fifty states will have the opportunity to cast their ballot for all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 available seats in the United States Senate.
And while every midterm election is an opportunity for citizens to inspire political change at a grassroots level, 2018 is a unique year to turn out to the polls: recent polls show that Americans on both sides of the aisle are more concerned with health care than nearly any other political issue.
The Impact of 2018 Midterms on State and Federal Law
In case your knowledge of United States legislature is a little rusty, here’s why open Senate and House of Representative seats will make a lasting difference to Americans of all ages.
Senators: Politicians running for Senate will serve a six-year term upon confirmation, representing all citizens of their winning state. Senators have a direct hand in writing and voting for bills, which eventually become passed as laws.
HOR: A member of the House of Representatives, on the other hand, will serve a two-year term and represent only the people living in their state district. They, too, play a role in voting for laws which impact United States citizens on a state and federal level.
With voting just weeks away, here are three healthcare issues with the potential to be repealed or amended following the outcome of the midterms, and what you need to know to vote smart.
Single payer healthcare systems
Also known as “Medicare for All,” this controversial initiative took center stage in 2016 under the campaign of Bernie Sanders, who relentlessly advocated for a single-payer healthcare system that left no man, woman or child behind. According to recent polls, over half of congressional Democrats in the 2018 midterms are leaning further toward the idea of government-regulated healthcare, a preference many Republicans view as dangerously akin to Socialism.
Fast Facts: While many benefits exist under a single-payer healthcare system, including the assurance that every American regardless of income receives access to affordable health care services, the price tag is enormous: a study out of George Mason University shows a Medicare for All plan would end up costing taxpayers an additional $32 billion over a ten-year period.
Protections for people with pre-existing conditions under the ACA
Historically, Republicans have called for a total repeal of the Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as Obamacare or the ACA), citing expensive premiums and the perceived inability to allow health insurers to compete in the private market. However, due to overwhelming backlash over the number of ACA-enrolled Americans who would lose access to affordable coverage due to their pre-existing health conditions, Republicans are promising to protect those citizens in danger of paying extraordinary insurance sums, should the ACA and it’s patient protections be dismantled.
Fast Facts: Republicans in favor of repealing all or portions of the ACA have promised to supply states with enough money to supplement the loss of individual coverage for preexisting conditions; however, these funds currently stand at a fraction of what is offered through the ACA, with states enacting financial caps on how many eligible residents have access to these funds.
Women’s access to reproductive health
Following the confirmation of conservative justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in 2018, some Americans are worried about the potential for certain reproductive rights to be amended or reversed altogether. The landmark 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade, which addresses a woman’s legal right to access an abortion, could be up for a rehearing soon, with the now primarily conservative Supreme Court potentially handing down a different outcome.
Fast Facts: At a state level, protections for women seeking medical abortions vary widely. Sixteen states already have laws restricting against certain stages of abortion, should Roe be overturned at a federal level; in contrast, nine states have laws which would uphold abortion regulations if Roe were to be overturned (Guttmacher Institute). State Senators will play a direct role in voting on reproductive bills for their associated states, with Republicans historically voting to enact abortion restrictions and Democrats voting to provide access.