What Last Night’s Election Results Mean for Health Care

The Democrats will take control of the House come January and will probably try to take control of the health care agenda as well. Bet on President Trump not backing down.

Feel free to answer your phone again. You won’t be hearing recorded messages by President Trump or former President Obama or any of the myriad of political personages who’ve vied for your vote. The election’s over.

And, as you might have heard, the Democrats took control of the House while the Senate remains in Republican hands. The 2020 presidential election isn’t for another 727 days.

Still, there’s been a shift and Stat this morning does a nice job explaining just what that might mean for health care. There’s a good chance that Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who was Speaker of the House from 2007 to 2011 and is currently House minority leader, will again play a big part in shaping the health care agenda. “She told Stat recently that addressing high drug prices will be among the party’s first priorities,” Stat reports this morning.

Pelosi laid out goals late last night to the Democratic National Convention Committee when she explained her takeaway from the election results. “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.”

She added: “We will take real, very, very strong legislative action to [negotiate down the prices of prescription drugs] that is burdening seniors and families across America.”

That’s an aim espoused by President Trump, as well, but not in a focused fashion, according to Stat. “The administration has pursued drug pricing plans in fits and starts, with the president’s own aim on the issue scattershot,” Stat reports. “At times, he’s targeted the middlemen that he says get rich while doing ‘nothing.’ More recently, his administration far more aggressively targeted drug makers themselves in a series of new policy proposals.”

They say that politics makes for strange bedfellows, but it will be interesting to see if it can quite get this strange. Trump and Pelosi as allies? If recent history is any guide (is it anymore?) the parties will square off on drug prices as they’ve squared off on so many other things recently.

“Hope is the thing with feathers,” Emily Dickinson wrote. And that flapping noise you may be hearing is being generated by the anti-opioid Support for Patients and Communities Law, recently passed with bipartisan support.

So, fingers crossed.