Democrats eye healthcare provisions amid midterm pressure

After campaigning on healthcare in 2020, Democrats are feeling pressure to deliver before the midterm elections this year, The Washington Post reported Jan. 17. 

The Democratic Party made promises to expand healthcare access to some of the most vulnerable, lower the cost of prescription drugs and beef up the ACA. Voters gave them the White House and Congress based in part on these promises, but so far the Democrats have not delivered.

Their attempt to pass some healthcare policies came in the form of the Build Back Better bill, which has an uncertain future. Advocates of the legislation say the healthcare policy provisions were some of the most popular aspects of the bill and hope they remain in other versions of it. These provisions include expanding Medicaid to 2.2 million adults, giving Medicare the power to negotiate prescription drug prices and boosting in-home care. 

According to the Post, some of the most vulnerable Democrats in the House are considering introducing standalone healthcare bills if Build Back Better fails in the Senate. Others are considering what changes President Joe Biden can enact through executive orders, particularly regarding drug pricing. 

"I feel ultimately that Democrats will manage to get something over the finish line that is substantial on healthcare," Eliot Fishman, a senior director of health policy at the left-leaning consumer health lobby Families USA, told the Post.

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