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 9, 2020


Joe Biden Elected President


Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump to win the 2020 presidential election and become the 46th President of the United States. The election was called on Saturday afternoon for Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris when they surpassed the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency. Biden has also won the popular vote, breaking the record for the most votes cast for a presidential candidate. President Donald Trump previewed his planned legal challenges to the outcome over the weekend and continued to question the legitimacy of the election with accusations of widespread voter fraud. His campaign has alleged that Trump supporters were unable to observe ballot counting as closely as they wished to. Biden will formally take over the presidency on Inauguration Day on January 20.

While Democrats will maintain control of the House of Representatives, the party will hold fewer seats in January than it does now. Last week’s election saw the 100-member Senate split with Republicans and Democrats each controlling 48 seats. Two of the remaining vacancies are in Georgia, where no candidate garnered at least 50 percent of the vote needed to avoid a runoff. These contests will be held on January 5 to fill the remaining two years on former Sen. Johnny Isakson’s (R-Ga.) term, between Kelly Loeffler (R) and Raphael Warnock (D), and to determine the outcome of the race between incumbent David Perdue (R) and challenger Jon Ossoff (D). Races in Alaska involving incumbent Dan Sullivan (R) and North Carolina featuring incumbent Thom Tillis (R) have yet to be called. For more information on the election and outlook for the 117th Congress, please see Hart Health Strategies Inc.’s 2020 Political/Elections Overview at the end of this week’s newsletter.


Republicansí Strong Showing in Congress and State Legislatures


Republicans defied the polls this election and are set to narrow Democrats’ majority in the House and possibly maintain control of the Senate. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), for example, won a fifth term by nine percentage points despite every independent and public poll conducted in 2020 showing her trailing challenger Sara Gideon (D). The President also surprised pollsters, increasing his share of the minority vote compared to the 2016 election. His support from both Black voters and Hispanic and Latino voters increased by four percentage points, while support from Asian voters increased by two points. This year’s elections marked the first time that no House Republican who ran for re-election lost their race.

The election also resulted in the lowest number of statehouses changing party control in more than 50 years. Only four statehouses saw changes or potential shifts of control: the New Hampshire House and Senate, which Republicans took back from Democrats, and the Arizona House and Senate, the contests of which are still too close to call. The balance of power across the nation’s statehouses is particularly important this year given the finalization of the most recent census. This data will be sent to the states beginning next year and be used for the purposes of redistricting. In most states, this process is controlled by the majority party. Before Tuesday’s election, Republicans controlled about three-fifths of all 98 partisan legislative chambers. If no other chambers flip as new results come in, this statistic will not change. While only two of the eleven states that held gubernatorial elections this year were expected to be competitive, Republicans were successful in both races, with Mike Parson (R) winning reelection in Missouri and Greg Gianforte (R) replacing Steven Bullock (D) as governor of Montana.


Record Gains for Republican Women


Female candidates accounted for most of the seats that the GOP took from Democrats this election cycle, with GOP women expected to set a new record for the most number of Republican women elected to the House. Two dozen have already won their races, and an additional seven are awaiting the results of their race. The current high for Republican women elected to the House is 25, which took place in 2004. Only 13 Republican women were elected to the 2019-2020 House.


Senate Orientation to Begin Today


New member orientation in the Senate is set to begin today, with Republican leadership elections being held on Tuesday. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) will run to chair the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). The position was previously held by Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.). On the Democratic side, a new Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) Chair is expected to be named. The position is currently held by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.). No other imminent changes are expected to Senate Democratic leadership, unless a sitting senator is selected for a position in the Biden administration.



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