The dust has settled from last week’s midterm elections. So what does it mean for health care reform?
A trio of consultants from Manatt Health gave their views on what to expect over the next two years during a webinar on Thursday.
The midterm election results have implications for health care on both the federal and state levels, said Patricia Boozang, Manatt Health senior managing director. In Congress, a Democratic-controlled House and a Republican Senate and president mean a shift in direction on health care.
“We will perhaps see some activity on drug pricing, which is a shared priority of both the White House and Democrats,” she said. “And we may see some activity on bolstering popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act.”
Democratic control of the House means that the Republican battle cry of “repeal and replace” will be muted in Congress over the next two years, said Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Manatt Health managing director.
“This division in Congress means there is no path forward for major agenda items on either side,” she said. “Had the Republicans kept control of both houses over the next two years, Congress would likely move forward with repeal and replace, and also entitlement reform.”
Room To Agree
But that doesn’t mean there is no area for agreement, she added.
There are some areas for bipartisan agreement in Washington, including drug pricing, marketplace improvements and price transparency for providers and insurers.
Meanwhile, the states – and not Congress – are where new health care initiatives are most likely to take place over the next two years, said Joel Ario, Manatt Health managing director.
Republicans control the legislatures of 30 of the 50 states, he noted. “Medicaid transcended the red/blue divide this election,” he said. “On the state level, the Medicaid issue is the issue.”
Single-payer initiatives are expected to emerge in some states, Ario said. He predicted that a single-payer bill will pass both chambers of the New York state legislature, forcing governor to either sign the bill or advance coverage alternatives.
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.
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