Eleven days away, and folks are desperate to see the latest polls–of battleground states that will determine the Presidency, and here in California, of closely-watched ballot measures and Congressional races.
Our colleagues at Health Care for America Now and at USAction have joined in the fun, commissioning polls in key states like Virginia, Ohio, and Colorado. They suggest the President has, at the moment, a slight but steady lead in these states that will determine the electoral college, the Presidency…and thus the further implementation of health reform.
And that’s a good reminder to step away from the horse race and the politics, and go back to policy, which is the ultimate point. The results of the election will be most profound on the issue of health care, and specifically health reform–according to Washington Post pundit and Wonkblog editor Ezra Klein:
The most important fact of the 2012 election is that the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010; it just hasn’t been fully implemented yet. If President Obama is reelected, the bulk of it will roll out on schedule in 2014.
If Romney is elected, he has promised to repeal the ACA–and even if he isn’t able to overturn it entirely, he’ll have pressure from a GOP Congress to rewrite the implementation rules and block key consumer protections. As Ezra Klein points out, there is no clearer dividing line between the candidates. If the President is not re-elected, we will return to square one–either to refight all the health care issues over again, or more likely, to let a failing health care system languish, letting insurers putting patients over profits.
This is not just a political issue. As Jen Rubino writes in the Huffington Post, “For my friends and classmates, the passage of this bill was merely a political issue, but for me it one of the best things that has ever happened to me. As a result of ObamaCare, I will be able to stay on my dad’s health insurance plan until age 26 and won’t be denied coverage because of my pre-existing condition. As I grow into adulthood, I can focus on my health and my future rather than having to consume my energy with trying to get health insurance.”
If you are looking for more policy to go along with your politics, here are two election-themed Health Wonk Review posts. Highlighting lots of good health policy commentary from us and others, with a diverse range of viewpoints, is David Williams at Health Business Blog as well as, hot off the presses, Maggie Mahar at Health Beat.
Elections have consequences, indeed.
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