MedPageToday, WASHINGTON — If Democratic candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff both win Senate seats in Georgia, and give the Democrats majority power in that chamber, it will change not only what type of healthcare policies are passed by the Senate but which healthcare bills get brought up in the first place.
[Fox News now reports that Democrats have won both Georgia U.S. Senate elections.]
“The big thing that it means is that [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) no longer controls what bills even get a vote” in the full chamber, said one policy advocate who asked to speak on background.
“Last year, a bill on prescription drug pricing passed on a somewhat bipartisan basis out of the Senate Finance Committee,” with the blessing of committee chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), “and it never even got a vote. It certainly would have passed the House.
So it’s not so much that you’re going to see a lot of partisan bills passed with [Vice President Kamala] Harris casting the tie-breaking vote … it’s that things will actually get voted on.”
Leadership of Senate committees also will change, noted Dan Mendelson, founder of Avalere Health, a consulting firm here.
And because of that, “you’d see the Senate Finance Committee focused on coverage, and you’d see kind of an aggressive push to figure out how do we expand exchanges, expand Medicaid, and get more people covered in the U.S.”
One of the top priorities will be shoring up the Affordable Care Act (ACA), he continued.
“There is no consensus on how to replace the law if it’s struck down by the Supreme Court. Legislation is necessary on an urgent basis.”
Some other issues, such as drug costs, “are more likely to be addressed through regulatory approaches rather than legislative ones initially,” Mendelson said …
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PREVIOUSLY ON HEADLINE HEALTH: Kamala’s Radical Plan For Your Health Care
Kamala is no moderate on health care
| First published October 7 … worth a fresh look as January 20 draws near
| OPINION, Fox Business – On the same day last month both Joe Biden and Kamala Harris suffered the same revealing slip of the tongue. They each referred to the coming “Harris-Biden administration.”
There’s no mistaking that Harris has openly assumed the role of heir-apparent to Biden.
The 78-years-old former vice president is bound to be considered a lame duck from the day he is sworn in. And that may mark the moment when Kamala Harris abandons the pretense that she is some kind of moderate on health care.
Harris was, after all, was the very first co-sponsor of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s 2017 “Medicare-for-all” bill, which would have outlawed private coverage and initiated a government takeover of the health insurance system. She endorsed Sanders’s second legislative bid for Medicare-for-All in 2019, too.
The Sanders plan is breathtaking in its radicalism. By ending private insurance, it would put 1.8 million Americans out of work, according to research from economists at the University of Massachusetts.
Estimates of the federal spending necessary to pay for the brand of health care reform that Harris, Sanders, and the progressive wing of the party favor vary from enormous to astounding.
Most studies put the price tag between $30 trillion and $40 trillion in its first 10 years. Those estimates may be low, as they assume massive cuts in payments to doctors and hospitals that are unlikely to happen.
For perspective, the total federal budget for fiscal year 2019, pre-COVID, was $4.4 trillion …Read more.