The outcome of the 2014 midterm election could impact continued implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
“Even though health care is only one of a number of top issues in the 2014 election, the majority party in Congress will claim it has a mandate for its priorities on what is still a controversial national health care issue,” according to an analysis of public opinion polls by Robert Blendon, Sc.D., and John Benson of the Harvard School of Public Health published Oct. 29 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Even if Republicans take control of the Senate and maintain control of the House of Representatives, they are unlikely to be successful at repealing the ACA, but they “could … reduce federal support for health insurance subsidies, Medicaid expansion, public health grants, innovation investments, program administrative information and outlays for research,” Dr. Blendon and Mr. Benson suggested.
A Republican-controlled Congress also would probably delay employer and individual mandates and reduce taxes on employers, insurers, and health care companies.
If Democrats maintain their majority in the Senate, the authors predicted continued ACA implementation and more states to expand Medicaid services.
The investigators looked at 27 public opinion polls from 14 organizations (N. Engl. J. Med. 2014 Oct. 29 doi:10.1056/NEJMsr1412118). They noted that “a larger proportion of likely voters say they are less likely to vote for a congressional candidate who supports the ACA (40%) than say that they are more likely to vote for such a candidate (31%).” Twenty-seven percent say that a candidate’s stance on the ACA will not impact their vote.
More independent voters say that they are less likely to vote for an anti-ACA candidate (43%) than a pro-ACA candidate (25%).
Finally, Dr. Blendon and Mr. Benson wrote that, while a majority of voters do not favor outright repeal of the health care reform law, many favor either repealing the ACA (31%) or scaling it back (23%).