We are so fortunate to live in a democracy where we have the right and ability to elect our leaders. Now that the election is complete, we must now focus on good governance. WSHA will continue to advocate for access to high quality health care for all through a vibrant and robust delivery system in our state and our nation.
We have been reviewing Mr. Trump’s health care platform, and know it will be a chief focus of attention in the coming weeks. Some of the ideas of interest include allowance of health insurance premium tax deductions and removing barriers to entry for prescription drugs.
However, a chief concern for us is the possible full or partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the destabilizing effects that could have on health insurance and our delivery system. Our state embraced the ACA and the Medicaid expansion early, and the benefits have been largely positive. We are not the only state with this concern — there are a number of states that voted for Mr. Trump that have embraced the expansions. We and others are coordinating with the American Hospital Association as they meet with the Trump transition team to better understand and influence the approach to the ACA.
While members of Congress have been pushing “repeal and replace ACA” for several years, the “replace” part of the agenda has not been significantly fleshed out. The knowledge that President Obama would veto any ACA repeal bill allowed for the proposed legislation to be more symbolic than substantive. Now, if there is a serious intent to repeal ACA, what comes in its stead needs careful attention. Our focus will be ensuring hundreds of thousands of working people who we have all worked so hard to get into an organized system of care do not suddenly become uninsured.
While the changes on a national level were clearly significant, the current governing structure in our state appears to be remaining in place. (I say “appears to be” because there are a few very close races with outstanding ballots yet to count.) The Democrats will maintain the majority in the House, perhaps with a wider majority; the Republican/Majority Coalition Caucus will maintain the majority in the Senate, but more narrowly; and the governor was handily re-elected. We were particularly pleased that Initiative 1491 concerning extreme risk protection orders, which we endorsed, was enacted by an overwhelming majority.
We look forward to working with you all as our advocacy agenda evolves in response to our country’s new leaders.