Your Voice Matters: Health Care at Heart of 2018 Election

Tuesday, Nov. 6, is Election Day in the United States, and issues surrounding health care will play a central part in shaping the U.S. Congress and state houses across the country.

Though the Republican majority in Congress failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), key portions are still in jeopardy, thanks to the efforts of Republican attorneys general and governors who have filed a lawsuit to invalidate the ACA, including protections on those with preexisting conditions.

If these efforts are successful, some 52 million people with preexisting conditions, from asthma to diabetes, cancer, heart disease and even pregnancy, could see their premiums rise and, in some cases, their access to insurance disappear.

A Republican-led Congress could again take up the issue of repealing the health care law, and while many Republican candidates have begun paying lip service to the idea of protecting people with preexisting conditions to appeal to voters, few have offered any concrete plans.

Republican governors and state legislators have also been blocking the expansion of Medicaid in their states. Four states have Medicaid expansion on their ballots, and in others like Florida and Georgia, Democratic candidates have made expanding Medicaid a key priority.

Republicans have also begun implying that the cost of Medicare is too great.

The federal deficit spiraled to $779 billion in the fiscal year that just ended, thanks in large part to the massive tax cuts Republicans handed out to the wealthy late last year.

The ballooning deficit has given Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and others an opening to attack and potentially restructure what they call “entitlement programs,” including Medicare and Social Security.

Voters in many states will consider local issues that will impact health care as well.

If you have not already done so, please make time to vote. Turnout in midterm elections is traditionally low, with only 36.4 percent of eligible voters casting ballots in 2014. Your voice is important.

To research what will be on your ballot and make a plan for voting, click here.

To read more about the impact of the election on the health care sector, click here.

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