We hope you got to the polls on (or before) November 4 to cast your vote in this year’s midterm elections. The results revealed sweeping changes and important considerations for healthcare and cancer prevention and early detection.
This election brought with it significant changes in the structure of the U.S. Congress, most notably switching the Senate from a Democrat to a Republican majority, which will be most likely led by Senator Mitch McConnell from Kentucky. The House will also see an expanded majority of Republicans in the new Congress, continuing to be led by Speaker John Boehner of Ohio.
Due to the change in Senate leadership, there will be new a chairman for every committee including those that are critical to healthcare (Energy and Commerce, and Health Education Labor and Pensions) and funding (Appropriations and Budget). Now that the House and Senate are both controlled by the same party, there is hope for consensus and cooperation on issues of importance. However, regardless of Congressional composition, President Obama still must sign each piece of legislation into law. It will continue to be challenging for our federal government to move forward productively in a time of such drastic change.
There are likely to be some high profile challenges at stake including attempts to repeal or at least dismantle pieces of the Affordable Care Act, although the likelihood of success is very small. Healthcare access across the country will also be an issue as Medicaid expansion will effectively grind to a halt in those states that have not decided to move forward. Additionally, there will most likely be fights over the budget and the economy. This is important as we continue to seek ample funding for the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The 114th Congress will be in place for the next two years but much of their work will be disrupted by the 2016 Presidential campaign. Most importantly we all have to work together because some things are bigger than politics, especially healthcare issues that impact each and every American household, particularly those impacted by cancer. Regardless of the challenges ahead, the Prevent Cancer Foundation looks forward to working with the 114th Congress and making sure that cancer prevention and early detection are a key focus of the healthcare agenda moving forward.