POLICY BRIEFINGS


Hart Health Strategies provides a comprehensive policy briefing on a weekly basis. This in-depth health policy briefing is sent out at the beginning of each week. The health policy briefing recaps the previous week and previews the week ahead. It alerts clients to upcoming congressional hearings, newly introduced bills, regulatory announcements, and implementation activity related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and other health laws.


THIS WEEK'S BRIEFING - NOVEMBER 12, 2018


Hart Health Strategies Inc. Prepares Post-Election Primers


Hart Health Strategies Inc. has prepared the following documents (starting on page four) to assist your post-election analysis:

  • Issues to be Addressed in Lame Duck Session; and
  • Guide to the 116th Congress, including a list of Health Professionals Serving in the 116th
Congress, updated to include Lauren Underwood, RN (D-IL-14) and to confirm that Dr. Kim Schrier, a pediatrician, won the 8th Congressional District seat in Washington state.


2018 Midterm Elections: Dems Take the House, GOP Holds on to Senate


Last week’s midterm elections saw Democratic success in gaining a majority in the House of Representatives, while the GOP slightly strengthened its hold on the Senate. Polling indicated that health care was one of the most important policy issues for voters in this election, with Republicans warning against the Medicare-for-All policy being touted in liberal-leaning districts, and Democrats underscoring their promise to defend protections for pre-existing conditions.

Notable pickups for Democrats include the election of Donna Shalala in Florida’s 27th Congressional District following the retirement of GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Shalala is the former secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton. Dem. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell defeated House Ways and Means Committee GOP member Carlos Curbelo for Florida’s 26th Congressional District. While Curbelo has broken with the President on divisive issues, Mucarsel-Powell attacked his vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and his support for the Republican tax cut package. Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R) was defeated by Democratic challenger Sean Casten in Illinois’ 6th District. Tom Malinowski (D) unseated Energy and Commerce Committee member Leonard Lance (R) in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District. Dem. Rep. Jacky Rosen defeated GOP Sen. Dean Heller in the Nevada Senate race to flip that seat for Senate Democrats. Republicans secured the Senate majority with wins in Indiana – businessman Mike Braun (R) defeated Sen. Joe Donnelly (D), Missouri – MO Attorney General Josh Hawley (R)defeated Sen. Claire McCaskill (D), and North Dakota – Rep. Kevin Cramer (R) defeated Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D).

Thirty-six governor’s races were also decided last Tuesday, in addition to hundreds of state ballot measures. Michigan voted to legalize adult recreational marijuana use, and Missouri approved a medical marijuana ballot measure. Voters in Idaho, Nebraska, and Idaho approved ballot referendums to expand their Medicaid program coverage under the ACA. In Kansas, Maine and Wisconsin, voters elected the Democratic candidates for governor who will be more likely to expand Medicaid.

There are several House races that remain undecided and in the Senate, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) has a narrow lead over Rep. Martha McSally (R) for the Arizona Senate seat to replace Sen. Jeff Flake (R), with half a million votes left to count. In Florida, both the Senate and gubernatorial and races in Florida are headed for a recount, with Republican Governor Rick Scott holding a narrow lead over incumbent Senator Bill Nelson (D) for the Senate seat. In Georgia, Democrat Stacey Abrams is down by 1.5 percentage points to Republican Brian Kemp, as of Sunday afternoon. While Kemp has declared victory, Abrams has not conceded. In Mississippi, there will be a special election for a Senate seat, requiring a run-off on November 27 between Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith, who was appointed to the position, and Democrat Mike Espy, who served in the cabinet of President Clinton.

House Democrats have already begun preparing their agenda for the 116th Congress. Stabilizing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and addressing the price of prescription drugs are likely to be top priorities and Democrats are also expected to focus on oversight of federal agencies as well as investigations of the Trump administration. Lawmakers have begun discussing plans to hold a vote to defend protections for people with pre-existing conditions early next year. The measure to be taken up would authorize the House to intervene in the anti-ACA lawsuit brought by Texas and other GOP state attorneys seeking to overturn the 2010 health care law. It would not require approval by the Senate or President.

The House and Senate will return to Washington on Tuesday to resume work.



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