Midterm Elections: Key Questions for State and Local Candidates
Health care will be a critical issue in the 2018 elections in many states. Voters will weigh choices for governor in 36 states. In addition, thousands of legislative seats are up in states where decision are each year for funding of health care. The election results will determine how health care programs including Medicaid, health insurance marketplaces and insurance coverage will be legislated and administered in the future.
The Trump administration is giving state officials more control over health care programs. This makes the elections in November a crucial time for voters to know where candidates stand on several health care issues.
As voters engage with state candidates in the weeks leading up to November elections, there will be opportunities to hear from candidates and get their views of health care issues. The following questions address three basic issues: protecting people with preexisting conditions; keeping prescription drug costs and health insurance costs from skyrocketing for the state’s families; and moving towards a system of health and health care that works for everyone.
Protecting People with Preexisting Conditions
Before the ACA’s enactment in 2010, health insurers could charge more or deny coverage for people with preexisting conditions, women, and older adults. Actions from the Trump administration and its allies could turn back the clock, allowing insurance companies to discriminate against people with preexisting conditions.
Will you support legislation that prevents health insurance companies from discriminating against people with preexisting conditions in any way?
Cutting High Prescription Drug Prices
Recent years have seen scandalously high drug prices. Examples include EpiPens tripling in cost, boosting the price of malaria drugs from $14 to $750 per pill, and charging $750,000 for the only available drug to treat certain neuromuscular diseases. These high prices impose tremendous hardships on millions of people, leaving many with no choice but to go without the medicine they desperately need. They are particularly shocking because drug manufacturers are some of the most profitable corporations in the world.
What will you do to address the rising costs of prescription drugs? Will you support state legislation to prohibit drug companies from charging excessive prices?
Assuring Health Care Coverage for Families
The Medicaid program was established more than 50 years ago to assure health care coverage for low-income families and children. States have been able to cover more adults and families in recent years because of the Affordable Care Act. Today, some states want to make it more difficult for people to obtain coverage by requiring new restrictions in hopes of preventing them from obtaining or keeping Medicaid. Another 17 states are not covering everyone eligible for the Medicaid program by refusing to expand the Medicaid program.
Will you oppose unnecessary red tape and restrictions that would result in people losing Medicaid coverage? Will you support full funding of Medicaid in the state?
Treating Oral Health to Cover All Health
Most states do not currently include adequate dental coverage for adults in Medicaid. Oral health coverage helps keep people healthy, can help them better manage chronic diseases like diabetes, and can reduce the use of costly emergency room care.
How would you support oral health programs so that fewer people relied on emergency rooms to meet their dental emergencies?
Helping Everyone Obtain High-Quality Health Care
The United States spends more money on health care per capita than any other country, yet we consistently rank at the bottom of the list in access, equity, key health outcomes, and overall performance. Equally troubling, these poor outcomes are particularly common with communities of color, low-income and working-class families, people with disabilities, and residents of distressed geographic areas.
What will you do to ensure that everyone in our state has access to high-quality health and health care, regardless of their race, income, health status, or geographic location? How will you ensure that none of your constituents are left behind as our state’s health care coverage and delivery systems continue to change rapidly due to technological improvements, economic changes, and policy updates?