While we are still examining the 2020 election results and how voters’ personal experiences with the pandemic and financial upheaval influenced their decisions, Governor Leavitt made eight important observations about the election that will shape the ensuing healthcare policy environment. He recently discussed the following observations during Leavitt Partners’ biannual Political Checkpoint webinar.
Observation #1: It is a rational, but not certain, assumption to assume a Democratic Administration and divided Congress. The Georgia Senate runoffs on January 5, 2021, will determine Senate control. Regardless of the final counts and who sits in the leadership chair, Congress will be very divided both within and across parties.
Observation #2: The Biden transition organization is well prepared but will be limited by Trump’s lack of cooperation. The Biden transition is well organized with highly experienced and competent people. The lack of closure from the General Services Administration will have some impact on his team’s ability to physically transition, the team’s experience and preparedness will minimize the negative impact of this slowdown.
Observation #3: The 2022 election cycle is already under way – Washington is always looking towards the next election – and so the burden of performance now shifts to the Democrats on the pandemic and economy. Each party starts preparing for the next election cycle as the current one ends, and this one is no different. The successes and failures of vaccine distribution or management of the post-COVID economy will reflect back on the Biden Administration.
Observation #4: There is nothing more reliable in politics than overreach by a party returning to power. This is always the case and is simply the push and pull of politics. Expect to see early focus on more disruptive proposals from some segments of the Democratic party. However, the divided nature of Congress, the closeness of the election results, and the reality of COVID may curtail this overreach more quickly than usual.
Observation #5: The next two years will either be a period of gridlock or a time of historic legislative productivity. President-elect Joe Biden and Majority Leader, Senator Mitch McConnell have known each other a long time, showing some ability to “reach across the aisle” to get things done. They may both have personal motivations to leave a legacy of cooperation. However, the highly polarized environment will make it difficult for both of them.
Observation #6: Biden will use his executive authority extensively to reverse Trump Administration actions particularly where they were used to weaken the ACA and advance work requirements in Medicaid. We expect swift efforts to reverse the dismantling of the Affordable Care Act and expect the ACA framework to be strengthened.
Observation #7: The “Soul-of-the-Party” fights will occur in both parties. This is already occurring in both parties and will shape the 2022 election and possibly even the 2024 election. These fights will be uncomfortable (even if necessary) and could impact the productivity of both parties.
Observation #8: Election reform will be an ongoing debate. The nature of mail voting, counting of absentee ballots, and general ballot access is very likely to be debated in state legislatures, possibly garnering national action.
For more details on Governor Leavitt’s observations of the 2020 election and implications of the election on healthcare, view a recording of our biannual Political Checkpoint webinar.
Looking for on-going federal insights and updates ranging from the response to the pandemic to anticipating the likely health policy changes under the Biden Administration? Learn more about D.C. Direct, a membership-based suite of integrated services that help our clients anticipate and interpret key federal health policy, political, and personnel developments in Washington, D.C.
Our mission at Leavitt Partners is to advance value to make health care more affordable, sustainable, and effective. We invite community members and industry experts to join us in future dialogue on the health care climate. View our upcoming schedule of Future Frame discussions here.