Republican victories will affect health care reform—but how?
Shake-ups to health committees and subcommittees in Congress are among the outcomes from Republican wins in yesterday’s elections, in which Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives and gained seats in the U.S. Senate.
Before the elections, Democrats held 255 seats in the House. Republicans now hold 239 seats in the House to the Democrats’ 185, with 11 races undecided as of last night, according to the New York Times. In the Senate, Democrats held 59 seats before the elections, but now hold only 51, compared with 46 for the Republicans, with 3 races undecided.
Among the important committees for pharmacy changed by Democratic losses are the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health; House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health; House Education and Labor Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions; and House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health, according to CQ. Four races that affect health committees in the House and Senate remain too close to call.
“We can expect new members to be appointed to these committees, and to the extent they have not been educated about MTM [medication therapy management], we will need to do that,” said Brian Gallagher, BPharm, JD, APhA’s Senior Vice President, Government Affairs.
As for health care reform, Republicans have said their goal is “to repeal the whole bill and replace it with ‘common sense’ reforms,” Gallagher said. While it will be virtually impossible to repeal the law when the Republicans only control the House, while the Democrats retain the Senate and the presidency, they may cut off funding needed for some elements of health care reform.
“Since the pharmacy-friendly provisions of health care reform such as MTM have had bipartisan support in Congress, we hope that these provisions will continue to be recognized by both the House and Senate as ‘common sense’ improvements to the system that should be retained and fully funded,” Gallagher said.
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Diana Yap (dyap)