The results of the 2018 primary election have officially been tabulated and the impact that will be made on healthcare law is slowly becoming clear. The most notable healthcare development is in regards to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that was enacted in March of 2010 under President Obama, the primary goal of which was to make reasonably priced health insurance available to more Americans than ever before. In recent months, Republicans have been working to repeal and replace the ACA but have thus far been unsuccessful. This most recent election has put that progress back even further. Now, 37 states including the District of Columbia have implemented or are working to implement the ACA’s Medicaid expansion which will increase the coverage of low-income adults who otherwise would not have access to healthcare. This recent growth in the number of states who have adopted the expansion plan may subsequently generate extra pressure for states who have not yet approved the plan.
Incoming Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who won over her Republican counterpart Bill Schuette, has made it known in the past that she supports the ACA. Whitmer has also recognized that premiums may be considered too high by many and understands something needs to be done to address the cost. In addition, the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) has plans to work closely with the Whitmer association transition team, ensuring that Michigan’s healthcare needs are fully addressed and that the results are in the public’s best interests. According to the MHA, issues that will be discussed include Healthy Michigan Plan work requirements and rural and behavioral health access, among other topics.
In New York, the departure of former long-time Chair of the Senate Health Committee turned key New York senator Kemp Hannon is causing speculations on whether New York’s political future will include more progressive attention to healthcare law. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has already made it clear that passing both the Reproductive Health Act as well as the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act are going to be some of his first priorities. In addition, Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Senator Gustavo Rivera have both made statements supporting a single-payer healthcare system under the New York Health Act.
The 2018 primary election brought special attention to a variety of healthcare topics, many of which produced an assortment of conflicting opinions. With a Republican U.S. Senate and a newly Democratic U.S. House of Representatives, it is uncertain exactly how much will be completed on a nationwide level. However, both Michigan’s and New York’s future may be less in doubt than the rest of the country’s, because of the clear indications that newly elected officials from both states have made in favor of various healthcare acts.