The Daily Scan: Special Edition—Election Day Recap

November 7, 2018

Last Updated: 1:00 PM EST

Legislation

  • Yesterday, voters in Nebraska, Idaho, and Utah headed to the polls to vote on the expansion of Medicaid in their respective states. Nebraska approved the ballot measure, which means an estimated 90,000 people, many of whom earn less than $17,000 a year, will now be eligible for Medicaid coverage. Jonathan Schleifer, Executive Director of The Fairness Project, an organization that advocated for the Medicaid expansion initiative in Nebraska, commented: "This election proves that politicians who voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act got it wrong. Americans want to live in a country where everyone can go to the doctor without going bankrupt. Expanding access to healthcare isn’t a blue state value or a red state value; it’s an American value.” Idaho approved the ballot measure expanding Medicaid coverage to 62,000 low income adults making 138% or less of the federal poverty level. Utah, the last high stake state to come in with its results also approved a measure expanding Medicaid coverage. Utah’s approval will expand Medicaid to about 150,000 individuals. (TheHill.com: Nebraska, Idaho, Utah)

 

  • Yesterday, Massachusetts voters rejected a ballot measure that would have instituted mandated nurse-to-patient staffing ratios starting January 1, 2019. This measure would have required hospitals to have one emergency room nurse for every five patients, with new mothers and newborns receiving one-on-one attention. Previous to this measure, Massachusetts mandated staffing ratios in intensive care units in 2014. With the rejection of this new ballot item, medical and surgical nurses will not have a limited or maximum number of patients, nor will psychiatric nurses. Donna Kelly-Williams of the Massachusetts Nurses Association presented a statement on Facebook and their website regarding the loss: “These frontline nurses have given everything to advocate for patient safety, fighting to make sure that our patients receive the highest quality care. I know that you have given your hearts and souls to this campaign, and I am so incredibly proud and beyond grateful for everything you have done.  We are all disappointed by tonight’s results and the impact this will have on the patients we care for every day. We know that right now – as I speak to you here – there are nurses caring for too many patients, and those patients are unnecessarily being put in harm’s way.” (ModernHealthcare.com, MassNurses.org)

 

  • Yesterday, voters in Maine rejected a ballot initiative that would have established "an unprecedented program of universal, no-cost home care for seniors and disabled people who need help with at least one activity of daily living." This program, called "the Universal Home Care Program," would have covered an estimated 27,000 residents of Maine, which has the oldest population in the country. The program was aimed at boosting the pay and improving the training of home care workers. Additionally, family caregivers would have been eligible to receive payment. A fact sheet about the initiative explained that care would be funded through a payroll tax increase of 1.9% from employees and employers on salaries and wages over $127,000. Despite the initiative’s defeat, many are optimistic that the initiative could inspire similar measures in other states as the population ages. (MainePeoplesAlliance.org, ModernHealthcare.com)

 

  • U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told reporters today that infrastructure and healthcare would be on the agenda in 2019, after Republicans widened their majority in the Senate but lost control of the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s elections. McConnell told reporters that senators likely would tackle Obamacare fixes and prescription drug prices but that changes to Medicare and Social Security were unlikely. Additionally, any new tax legislation would need bipartisan support, he said. Last month, in an interview with Reuters, McConnell said he would be willing to try another Obamacare repeal if he had the votes. But one day after Democrats regained control of the House in Tuesday’s elections, McConnell spoke in softer tones. “I think it’s pretty obvious the Democratic House is not going to be interested in that,” McConnell said at a news conference. While there are “serious problems” with Obamacare, he said, “We’re going to have to obviously now address those on a bipartisan basis.” (Reuters.com)

 

 

 

 

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