What’s Next for Health Care in a Democratic House?

The results of the midterm elections revealed that affordable health care and lower prescription drug costs are key issues for voters.

Three Republican-leaning states (Utah, Nebraska, and Idaho) approved Medicaid expansion. Voter support of this provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was apparent despite continued efforts by Republican legislators to repeal the ACA. In many congressional campaigns, Democrats who have frequently criticized Republicans for their anti-ACA stance promised to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions – a major feature of ACA – and curb skyrocketing drug prices.

Democrats were able to take control of the House of Representatives and will try to fulfill those promises through a bill that will allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. The bill also will “authorize the federal government to award drug licenses to competing companies when manufacturers and Medicare fail to agree on a given medicine’s price,” according to STAT News.

The advocacy group Patients for Affordable Drugs (P4AD), whose sole mission is to lower high prescription drug prices, sees the election results and the potential legislation as victories. “There’s a more favorable landscape in many states from Massachusetts to Wisconsin,” P4AD Founder and President David Mitchell told STAT News. “The political imperative to lower drug prices cuts across regions rural and urban. Voters want reform.”

Sources: CNBC, November 7, 2018; STAT News, November 6, 2018; STAT News, November 8, 2018.