[UPDATED at 8:15 a.m. ET]
Health care proved vital however apparently not pivotal within the 2018 midterm elections on Tuesday as voters gave Democrats management of the U.S. House, left Republicans in cost within the Senate and appeared to order an growth of Medicaid in a minimum of three states lengthy managed by Republicans.
In taking on the House, Democrats are unlikely to have the ability to advance many initiatives in the case of well being coverage, given the GOP’s management of the Senate and White House. But they’ll be capable of ship an efficient veto to Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, convert the Medicaid well being care system for low-income individuals right into a block grant program and make main modifications to Medicare.
One possible improvement is an growth of Medicaid in a number of of the 18 states that had thus far not supplied protection made obtainable by the Affordable Care Act. Voters in Idaho and Nebraska simply permitted poll measures calling for growth. The same measure was main in Utah based mostly on incomplete returns.
In Montana, voters are deciding if the prevailing growth must be continued and the state’s bills coated by elevating tobacco taxes. In preliminary outcomes, opponents outnumbered supporters, however key counties have been not expected to release their tallies till Wednesday.
Medicaid may also be expanded in Kansas, the place Democratic gubernatorial candidate Laura Kelly defeated GOP Secretary of State Kris Kobach. The Kansas legislature had beforehand handed Medicaid growth, however it was vetoed in 2017 by former GOP Gov. Sam Brownback. Kobach had not supported the ACA growth.
And in Maine, the place voters permitted Medicaid growth in 2017 however GOP Gov. Paul LePage refused to implement it, Democrat Janet Mills was victorious. She has promised to follow the voters’ wishes. LePage was not operating.
In exit polling, as in lots of earlier surveys in 2018, voters stated that well being care, significantly preserving protections for individuals with preexisting situations, was their prime difficulty. But well being care remained more important to Democrats than to Republicans.
Those who urged Democrats to emphasise well being care this yr took credit score for the congressional successes. “The race for the House was a referendum on the Republican war on health care. You know it, I know it, and the Republican incumbents who shamefully tried to cover up their real record on health care and lost their seats know it,” stated Brad Woodhouse of the advocacy group Protect Our Care.
But the difficulty was not sufficient to avoid wasting a number of the Senate Democrats in states gained by President Donald Trump in 2016. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) was defeated by GOP Attorney General Josh Hawley, who’s a plaintiff in a key lawsuit searching for to declare the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), who additionally campaigned onerous on well being care, have been defeated.
Nonetheless, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) beat Republican Patrick Morrisey, the state’s lawyer normal who can also be a plaintiff within the lawsuit searching for to upend the ACA.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the chief of the House Democrats who can be first in line to take over as speaker, told supporters gathered in Washington for a victory celebration that her caucus would make well being care a key legislative difficulty.
“It’s about stopping the GOP and [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell’s assault on Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act and the health care of 130 million Americans living with preexisting medical conditions,” she stated. She pledged that Democrats would take “very, very strong legislative action” to decrease the price of prescribed drugs.
Among the various new faces within the House is a minimum of one with some important expertise in well being coverage. Former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala, who ran the division for all eight years of the Clinton administration, gained an open seat in Florida.