Election Impact

Nov 9, 2020

It now seems Joe Biden will be the 46th President of the United States. What will this mean for the hospital field, and for health care in Maryland?

Some key variables are in play. Biden may not enjoy a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, at least until 2023. A Republican-led Senate will likely thwart many of his ambitious health policy ideas, such as lowering the age of Medicare eligibility to 60.

Another consideration is the U.S. Supreme Court this week will hear arguments in a challenge to the Affordable Care Act. Depending on the outcome, the foundation upon which Biden hopes to execute his health care agenda could be undermined.

Most immediately, Biden will attend to the pandemic. His administration also will boost public health measures: testing and contact tracing, use of the Defense Production Act to build up PPE stocks, public education, and coordination between the federal government and all states. A nationwide mask mandate is not out of the question.

Other actions Biden could take without Congress: grow health coverage; use innovation waivers to expand alternative payment models, remove barriers to Medicaid expansion, and seek greater health equity; enforce mental health parity; and oppose consolidation of health care organizations.

Maryland is generally ahead of the nation on many of these measures. Our Total Cost of Care Model, which along with the precursor All-Payer Model was launched during the Obama-Biden administration, ought to benefit from continued support. Ideally, Biden appointees at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should recognize all our Model offers as a motivator of efficiency and quality, a contributor to access for all, and a health care delivery stabilizer.

Whatever may come with Joe Biden as President, rest assured your MHA will be vigilant and proactive to secure the best possible treatment of the Maryland hospital field.

Bob Atlas
President & CEO