Health care was top of mind for many Americans in 2018, and as we look towards 2019, it’s certainly not an issue that’s going away.
After the midterm elections in November, it was clear that health care, especially pre-existing conditions and Medicaid expansion, was a major factor in how Americans cast their ballots.
In Kaiser Family Foundation polling from late November, the organization found that pre-existing conditions continue to be an important issue, with a majority of respondents believing it is “very important” that protections for pre-existing conditions are preserved. In the same poll, a majority of respondents would like the incoming Democratic majority to work with their colleagues on the other side of the aisle to enact new laws to address the problems facing the country – including protecting access to health care.
Voters in Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah passed ballot initiatives to expand affordable coverage in their states through Medicaid eligibility for low- and middle-income individuals. Additionally, voters in Kansas, Maine, and Wisconsin voted for governors who ran on expanding coverage through Medicaid. These results show that affordable health care is a priority for all Americans.
Congress has taken note of the importance of these issues to their constituents, and members are beginning to set their agenda for 2019 and beyond. Incoming leaders in the 116th House of Representatives have signaled that codifying protections for pre-existing conditions is a top priority, and likely one of the first measures to be addressed in the new Congress. There has been bipartisan support for such a plan, increasing the likelihood that this issue could be backed by a broad congressional coalition.
Looking ahead, we should improve what’s working and fix what isn’t – not start over. You see this with incoming congressional leadership signaling they will work quickly to introduce a resolution directing House counsel to protect the system we have today. We must do more to strengthen both the free market and public programs that deliver real solutions for Americans. In 2019, let’s work together to lower costs, increase patient choice, and improve quality.