The general election on November 3 could have significant ramifications for many health care programs. State, local, and federal candidates offer various perspectives on what the U.S. system should look like and how programs should be supported or dismantled. Because of its vast importance, health care is always on the ballot.
In a time of COVID-19, health care access is especially critical and, sadly, may be especially at risk. There is dire need for additional COVID-19 relief legislation that supports people with Medicare and Medicaid, including enrollment flexibilities to help people more quickly connect with their coverage.
Just after the election, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case that could upend the entire U.S. health system, with massive implications for people with Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance. In addition to expanding Medicaid and closing the Medicare Part D donut hole, the Affordable Care Act created protections for people with pre-existing conditions, allowed parents to keep their children on their insurance to age 26, and improved access to complete coverage benefits.
The election does not have a direct impact on that Supreme Court case, but legislative and administrative choices at both the federal and state levels are extremely important, and they can be subtle. Even choices that seem unrelated, such as reforms to U.S. Postal Service operations, can have health care implications. Here are a few ways that important programs may be affected by election decisions and questions to ask candidates to discern where they stand on the issues.
In every election, every candidate should be pressed on their stances on these and other health care issues to ensure voters have the opportunity to make an informed choice.