The National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP) has released a special alert providing an analysis of the election and its impact on healthcare policy, as follows:
The Republican Party won the presidency and maintained control of the U.S. Congress, with businessman Donald J. Trump (R) winning the presidential election to become the 45th president of the United States. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton (D) in the electoral college but not in the popular vote. Overall, President-elect Trump won 279 electoral votes to Secretary of State Clinton’s 228. The popular vote totaled 59,623,049 votes for Clinton, while Trump received 59,418,103 votes (a difference of 204,946 votes). Clinton raised $1.3 billion and President-elect Trump raised $795 million, respectively, for their presidential campaigns-equating to a $2.1 billion presidential race.
In the Congressional races, Senate Republicans maintained their control of the chamber with 51 members, with the Louisiana race still undetermined. While House Democrats made some gains, adding a net of six seats in the U.S. House of Representatives as of this writing, Republicans retained control of the chamber with at least 238 seats to their party. Republicans now control the executive branch and the legislative branch for the first time since 2005-2006 in the 109th Congress during the presidency of George W. Bush. (House results for California Districts 7, 25, and 49, and Louisiana Districts 3 and 4 are still being determined and are not included.)
Republicans lost Senator Mark Kirk’s seat in Illinois. Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth (D) won this seat, making her the only person with bilateral amputations in the Senate and a strong supporter of the O&P policy agenda.
Potential Impact of Elections on the Lame Duck Session
The House and Senate reconvene the week of November 14 for a week of business, followed by a week off and then a two-week session leading up to the December 9 expiration of federal funding. Current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and current Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) have stated that they would like to address the annual appropriations bills, and seek to pass the 21st Century Cures and Innovation for Healthier Americans legislative packages surrounding medical innovation. This may provide some opportunity to try to amend some of the O&P legislation NAAOP has been promoting to legislation that is otherwise moving through Congress. However, the legislative climate surrounding the healthcare innovation package and all legislation remains uncertain, as the smoke clears from the election.
Throughout the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly stated that he will seek to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Whether a Republican-led House and Senate will repeal the ACA, engage in negotiations for significant reform, or completely replace the ACA with their vision for healthcare reform remains in question. Trump’s vision for action on the ACA borrows heavily from the Republican Party’s platform and Ryan’s healthcare blueprint published this past summer, titled “A Better Way.”
Who will lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under the Trump Administration is another question on which speculation is already rampant. Who is chosen to lead HHS promises to more fully inform the direction a Trump Administration would take on healthcare issues. Candidates most often mentioned include Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon; and Florida Governor Rick Scott (R). But, there is also speculation that a healthcare business leader could also be a logical choice for Trump to make given his statements on running our country more like a business.
Few predicted the wave that swept Trump to the presidency and limited the losses in both the House and Senate for Republicans. There are many details that will emerge in the coming months that will signal how President-elect Trump plans to proceed on healthcare issues, and NAAOP will inform its members and friends as developments occur.