POLICY BRIEFINGS


Hart Health Strategies provides a comprehensive policy briefing on a weekly basis. This in-depth health policy briefing is sent out at the beginning of each week. The health policy briefing recaps the previous week and previews the week ahead. It alerts clients to upcoming congressional hearings, newly introduced bills, regulatory announcements, and implementation activity related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and other health laws.


THIS WEEK'S BRIEFING - NOVEMBER 14, 2016


Election Recap


Donald J. Trump was elected the nation’s 45th president in a surprising upset over his opponent Hillary Clinton last week. While polls showed Clinton’s lead over Trump narrowing in the days leading up to the election, there was a near-universally accepted narrative that Democrats would retain control of the White House. Instead, Trump defied expectations in winning the key battleground states of Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania, earning him 290 electoral college votes to Clinton’s 228. The GOP earned unexpected wins in the Senate as well. Senate Democrats came into the election defending only 10 seats, while Republicans were defending 24. Many thought that the four-seat Republican Senate majority would fall, but by the close of the election, Democrats only picked up two seats – creating a 51-seat majority for Senate Republicans in the 115th Congress. As widely predicted, Republicans easily
held their majority in the House of Representatives as well. Orientation for new Members of the 115th Congress is scheduled for this week. The lame-duck session of Congress will begin today, with the House Republican caucus holding elections for leadership positions on November 15. Committee chairmen will be selected by party leaders closer to the end of November, and into the beginning of December. Congress will spend the lame-duck session of Congress negotiating a budget agreement to keep the government operational beyond the December 9 deadline set by the previous budget deal. Lawmakers are also expected to take up a revised version of the 21st Century Cures Act. The 114th Congress is scheduled to conclude on Friday, December 16, depending on the efficiency at which party leaders can agree on the above agenda items. With the electoral results for the 115th Congress, previous lame-duck priorities that seemed plausible before Election Day have suddenly become less necessary, as Republicans will be in a better position with a Republican in the White House come January 20.


2016 Ballot Initiatives


Ballot initiatives are state and local based decisions that are passed on from the legislative process for the electorate to decide directly. In 2016, 162 statewide ballot initiatives were certified in 35 different states, many dealing with health care. In Colorado, voters defeated a ballot measure that would have funded a statewide single-payer health care system by raising income taxes by 10 percent. Eighty percent of voters voted against the initiative. California’s effort to limit drug prices also failed. It is estimated that more that 53 percent of voters were against the measure that would have tied what the state pays for prescription drugs to what the Department of Veterans Affairs pays. Voters in California, Nevada, and Massachusetts approved marijuana legalization, while medical marijuana measures were approved in Arkansas, Florida,
North Dakota, and Montana. Hart Health Strategies Inc. has attached a post-election analysis with a comprehensive list of state health ballot initiatives.



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