Here’s how the elections could affect health care across the country

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.

/ Source: Kaiser Health News

By Julie Rovner, Kaiser Health News

Voters this year have told pollsters in no uncertain terms that health care is important to them. In particular, maintaining insurance protections for pre-existing conditions is the top issue to many.

But the results of the midterm elections are likely to have a major impact on a broad array of other health issues that touch every single American. And how those issues are addressed will depend in large part on which party controls the House and Senate, governors’ mansions and state legislatures around the country.

All politics is local, and no single race is likely to determine national or even state action. But some key contests can provide something of a barometer of what’s likely to happen over the next two years.

For example, keep an eye on Kansas. The razor-tight race for governor could determine whether the state expands Medicaid to all people with low incomes, as allowed under the Affordable Care Act. The legislature in that deep red state passed a bill to accept expansion in 2017, but it could not override the veto of then-Gov. Sam Brownback. Of the candidates running for governor in 2018, Democrat Laura Kelly supports expansion, while Republican Kris Kobach does not.

Here are three big health issues that could be drastically affected by Tuesday’s vote.

The Affordable Care Act

Protections for pre-existing conditions are only a small part of the ACA. The law also made big changes to Medicare and Medicaid, employer-provided health plans and the generic drug approval process, among other things.

Republicans ran hard on promises to get rid of the law in every election since it passed in 2010.