In November 2018, Americans went to the polls to vote on mayors, senators, representatives, and governors, as well as local measures impacting a range of community and state concerns. One of the biggest concerns among voters was healthcare. In fact, preliminary exit polls found that 41% of voters said that healthcare was the top issue facing the country. Healthcare ranked ahead of immigration, the economy, and gun policy for midterm voters.
The results of the midterm elections included a new Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. Many experts believe that this shift in the House will ensure that the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, will remain intact for the foreseeable future. Expanded Medicaid also became a reality for many voters. Fortune reports that:
… one of Obamacare’s most popular provisions, its optional state-by-state expansion of the Medicaid program for low-income Americans, was a big winner in several traditionally conservative states. Voters in Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah overwhelmingly endorsed ballot initiatives to approve Medicaid expansion. What’s more, Kansas, Maine, and Wisconsin all elected Democratic governors who are gung-ho expansion proponents, possibly setting up a significant rise in coverage for poor, working residents.
Medicaid expansion may impact the independent physician, who will potentially see more patients seeking care under their new healthcare coverage plan.
Other healthcare initiatives that may be impacted by the midterm elections and that may affect independent physicians include potential opioids legislation and a furthering of the attempt to lower prescription drug prices. On the other hand, with a divided government, some experts think that little healthcare legislation will be passed. HealthLeaders reports that John Kelliher, Managing Director of Berkeley Research Group, believes that “divided government has historically been good for the healthcare industry, especially when Democrats gain relative power, but doubted much legislation will pass in the upcoming Congress.”