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Election Day is (sort of) over. Here's what we know so far.

By Christopher Kerns

November 4, 2020

    Election Day is over. Sort of.

    But you don't need me to tell you that, even if the calendar technically reads November 4, much about yesterday's elections remain unresolved.

    Tomorrow, Nov. 5: Your post-election digest

    We still don't know the winner in the race for president. We still don't have clarity on who will control the U.S. Senate (although it doesn't appear Democrats will receive a commanding majority, as some observers had predicted).

    In fact, of the five scenarios my team had sketched out as possible outcomes of the election, four remain at least potentially in play—everything except the "blue tsunami."

    The 3 health care stories that matter most as the election is resolved

    But as challenging as it may to take our eyes off of breaking news this morning, let's take a step back.

    No matter what happens in the next three hours or the next three days, these are the health care stories that will matter most in the next three months—and where the next president and Senate could make a big difference:

    • How does President Trump handle existing Covid-19 relief funding? Of the $175 billion in relief appropriated by Congress, $31 billion remains unallocated. In the event of a Biden victory, expect the Trump administration to spend those funds quickly to avoid allowing them to fall to a Democratic administration to spend. This should provide a near-term boost to provider finances in advance of more contentious negotiations after the new Congress and administration are seated. If Trump wins, on the other hand, we're likely to see little change in the allocation process.

    • Will Congress pass any new Covid-19 relief? Until election results are finalized, negotiations for new Covid-19 relief—beyond emergency stopgaps—are moribund. The currently divided Congress likely will wait until the winner of the presidential race is known before committing to any new funding. Even after that, a status-quo-ante result in which Republicans retain the White House and the Senate is probably the only outcome that would produce new legislation before a new Congress is seated in January.

    • Who gets to replace the Affordable Care Act if it's struck down? While it's highly unlikely that the election results would influence the Supreme Court's judgment on Texas v. California, the makeup of Congress will determine what sort of remedy is introduced if any or all of the Affordable Care Act is struck down. In the (unlikely) event of a full or partial invalidation, a divided government (in any form) would likely result in continued protections for pre-existing conditions, and preservation of alternative payment models, but perhaps little beyond that. We'll be watching to see if we can discern how the justices are leaning during oral arguments next week.

    While you're waiting for election results, take these 4 action steps

    Even though we're still waiting for final election results, you can take steps now to understand the health care landscape moving forward.

    First, sign up for our post-election "Stay Up to Date" webinars, starting tomorrow. My colleague Yulan Egan and I will break down the results and provide our immediate thoughts on what the changes—both certain and undecided—will mean for the health care industry:

    Second, before the election, my team projected five possible outcomes for the election—and as I mentioned before, all except the "blue tsunami" remain in play. Download our full analysis to understand what each would mean for health care.

    Third, if you want to more fully understand the consequences of a Biden or Trump victory, download our analysis of each candidate's stance on key health policy issues—ranging from telehealth and drug pricing to provider consolidation and price transparency.

    Fourth, subscribe to our Radio Advisory podcast, where host Rachel Woods on Tuesday, Nov. 11, will sit down with Yulan Egan and myself to talk about the outcome of the election, what the results mean for health care, and what leaders should do next.

    And finally, keep an eye on the Daily Briefing and on my Twitter account for further analysis as results become clear.

    The 2020 elections—and what it means for health care

    Stay up-to-date on the latest election news and read our experts' takes on the biggest issues, including:

  • Insight: Where do Trump and Biden stand on health policy?
  • Resource: The possible election outcomes—and what each would mean for health policy
  • Map: Where the states stand on Medicaid expansion
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