Speaker in waiting readies “very, very strong legislative action”
| Dems took the House. Here’s what that means for health and medicine
| STAT — Democrats rode a wave of health care messaging into a majority of the House of Representatives, propelled by vows to protect Americans with pre-existing health conditions and dramatically lower prescription drug costs.
Some of the winning Democrats highlighted their own health struggles. Others lambasted their Republican opponents for taking money from drug companies and health insurers.
The GOP’s steadfast effort to roll back the Affordable Care Act dominated congressional campaigns around the country, and exit polls showed health care was the top concern for voters.
The victory puts Democrats in a far better position to test the far-reaching health care agenda they have campaigned on for well over a year, though their ambitions will almost certainly be curtailed by a Republican-held Senate and President Trump’s White House.
The election leaves Nancy Pelosi in the best position to regain the House speaker’s gavel.
Pelosi, currently the House minority leader, made health care costs a focus of her party’s “Better Deal” campaign promises in the year preceding the midterms. She told STAT recently that addressing high drug prices will be among the party’s first priorities.
“It’s about stopping the GOP and Mitch McConnell’s assault on Medicare and Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act and the health care of 130 million Americans living with pre-existing medical conditions,” Pelosi said in a speech late Tuesday.
“We will take real, very, very strong legislative action to negotiate down the price control of prescription drugs that is burdening seniors and families across America,” she pledged.
Democrats, however, failed to regain control of the Senate, leaving open the question of whether the new House majority can negotiate with McConnell, who has made repealing the Affordable Care Act central to his party’s agenda and is seen as an ally of the pharmaceutical industry. Read more.