Midterm election round-up: Highlights & implications in healthcare

A number of historic “firsts” came with the Midterm election occurring last Tuesday, November 6th. The first Native American women, the youngest woman, and the first Muslim women were elected to Congress, and the first female governors in Maine and South Dakota and the first openly gay governor in the U.S. were also elected, among other “firsts”. There will also be more than 100 women in the U.S. House of Representatives, a new record. In addition to the expanding diversity of candidates running for office and being elected, this election also brought historic “firsts” in healthcare. We have listed below some of the various health-related highlights of last Tuesday, as well as its implications in the local and federal level. Specifically, what issues do voters care about, and what do they mean for the future of healthcare and policymaking in this country?

  • At preliminary exit polls during Tuesday’s elections, 41% of surveyed voters noted that healthcare is a top issue they are concerned about. In addition, CNBC reports that ~70% of voters, regardless of party affiliation, indicated that the “U.S. healthcare system needs ‘major changes’”. The weight voters put on healthcare may make it an important future point of discussion in Congress as well as in local and state legislatures.

  • With a Democrat majority in the House of Representatives, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and/or cuts to Medicaid will probably not be heavily challenged for repeal in Congress.

  • Utah, Nebraska, and Idaho passed ballot measures to expand Medicare in their states. This could mean that over 300,000 low-income individuals in all three states will be eligible to gain health insurance coverage through Medicaid. Only 14 states have not expanded Medicaid thus far in the U.S.

  • Alabama and West Virginia voters passed measures to “ban abortion in their state constitutions”. Both states also have laws that ban abortion; however, these measures technically cannot be implemented due to the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. According to the decision, it is unconstitutional for state laws to ban abortion.

Check out some more health-care related highlights from the 2018 Midterm election here!