Although Senate control will not be determined until two runoff races in Georgia are decided in January, Joe Biden's election victory means some changes are ahead for the healthcare sector. In this edition of our post-election webinar series, members of Venable's Healthcare practice discussed what is likely to unfold in the first 100 days of the incoming Biden administration, and how a divided Congress or a slim Democratic majority is likely to impact the president-elect's healthcare policy goals.
Among the key areas addressed was the likelihood that the federal government will take a strong leadership role in COVID-19 policies under the Biden administration, which would mean testing on a massive scale, more funding requested from Congress, and state-level leadership on issues like school and local economy reopenings.
The panelists also discussed the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which is currently being challenged before the Supreme Court. Should Democrats win a Senate majority, efforts will be made to expand and strengthen the ACA through legislation and administrative steps. Additional areas of focus will be the expansion of healthcare through a public option and drug pricing reform. Whereas with a Republican-controlled Senate, priorities will be addressing drug pricing, surprise medical billing, and smaller one-off healthcare issues rather than broad reform.
With a public option health insurance plan now possible under a Biden administration, the group examined the potential repercussions for the health insurance industry, how young people and at-risk Americans might benefit from it, and what the business and economic impacts might be. Finally, the panelists discussed likely leadership changes in certain congressional committees, noting that in the House of Representatives, the Ways and Means, and Energy and Commerce Committees will be key players in healthcare policy, while in the Senate, the Finance and HELP Committees are the ones to watch.