No matter who you supported, there is good news. The elections are over. And regardless of your thoughts on the outcome, now is the time to get ready for what’s coming next year and beyond.
So, what happened?
The headline news is, of course, that Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States. In addition, Republicans held on to both the House and Senate, meaning that the Republican Party will be in charge of both chambers of Congress and the Presidency. Finally, the Senate and President will work together to fill at least one vacant seat on the Supreme Court. This will have an impact on a range of upcoming cases, including some related to the Affordable Care Act and disability rights.
What does this mean for hydrocephalus patients and their families?
On the larger issue of health care reform, one of the lynchpins of President-Elect Trump’s campaign platform has been to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with Health Savings Accounts (HSA’s). With a Republican House and Senate, his job will be made much easier, should he decide to move forward. The Hydrocephalus Association will be following these proposals to keep our network updated.
In terms of policy issues specific to our community, the results vary. Strong bipartisan legislation, such as HR 2313, the Advancing Research for Hydrocephalus Act (introduced by Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ), may see more movement. On the other hand, it is unclear how the President-Elect will call for reductions in federal spending that could impact funding for the National Institutes of Health. We also expect to see action regarding ongoing access to physical therapy, with the potential that caps on coverage for those services will be reinstated.
In addition, both the House and Senate will see changes to the leadership of the Committees that consider health care related issues, specifically:
- The House and Senate Appropriations Committees, which focus on funding for the National Institutes of Health and the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
- The House Energy and Commerce and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committees, which consider the Advancing Hydrocephalus Research legislation as well as the 21st Century Cures bill, which would improve the development of treatments for hydrocephalus and other conditions.
These new leaders will have a powerful impact on the policy agenda for the next several years. We will be tracking these changes and will let Hydrocephalus Advocacy Network members know how and when to get engaged. To receive legislative updates, action alerts, and invitations to advocacy events, join our Hydrocephalus Action Network (HAN) and BECOME AN ADVOCATE FOR HYDROCEPHALUS!
We are in uncharted waters here when it comes to the political environment. Rest assured, our commitment at the Hydrocephalus Association is to keep you informed.