Healthcare proved significant to voters on Tuesday, but it was not quite pivotal. Democrats scored a majority in the House, while Republicans expanded their majority in the Senate. Hence, legislative priorities will require bipartisan support. Key issues will be navigating the Justice Department’s decision to back the lawsuit threatening coverage for pre-existing conditions under the ACA and lowering drug costs, which is a major opportunity to enact some meaningful change.
Notably, moderate Democrats, including women in the suburbs and candidates in the Midwest, who did not support iterations of a single-payer healthcare system, helped propel the Democrats to regain control of the House. Multiple statewide candidates who campaigned on more extreme left policies, like Medicare for All, lost.
Last but not least: Idaho, Nebraska and Utah passed ballot initiatives to adopt the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, bringing the total of Medicaid expansion states to 36, plus DC. That means that more than 200,000 people could potentially gain coverage. In addition, Democrats won two key gubernatorial races in Kansas and Wisconsin where Medicaid expansion will be considered.