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 Long Term Care Advocacy on Course No Matter Which Way Elections Unfold

With less than two weeks to go before the Nov. 6 mid-term congressional elections, there is no way to read the tea leaves and figure out which side will be in control of the House and Senate starting in January. Polls show a slight lead for Democrats when voters are asked in a generic sense who they want to win the House, but Senate races tilt the other way, fueling expectations Republicans will retain that chamber.

Given the uncertainties, advocates for long term and post-acute care (LT/PAC) providers at the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) say industry priorities will remain intact no matter if there is a Democratic sweep, a split House and Senate, or the status quo with the Republicans in charge in both.

“I think clearly this is going to be a very competitive election cycle and will go down to the wire,” Clif Porter II, senior vice president of government affairs, AHCA/NCAL, tells Provider. “Our members have extensive and longstanding relationships with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle. So, we are optimistic whatever the outcome we will continue to have an open and constructive dialogue with our elected officials.”

The one constant, the Trump administration and its focus on regulatory reform, will continue regardless of the composition of Congress.

Whatever the “new look” balance of power is, Porter says AHCA/NCAL will continue to focus its energies and efforts on ensuring that providers are adequately paid for the services they provide. He also says the trade group will push for rational and effective regulations, “and, most importantly, we will continue to work together collaboratively to improve outcomes for patient care.”

There are broad underlying issues at stake depending on whether the Democrats gain at least one foothold on Capitol Hill. Porter says one of those items is Medicaid reform, which will not be broached if Democrats win the House. During the current Congress, Republican leadership attempted to attach Medicaid reform to Affordable Care Act repeal and replace legislation in an effort to turn the program into a block-grant funding model. That effort failed, but only by the slimmest of margins in the Senate.

Porter says it is important that AHCA/NCAL and provider members also prioritize actions that will be taken on the regulatory front, separately from congressional election outcomes.

“We will work closely with the administration to identify common sense rational regulatory reform,” he says. “We are committed to ensuring that there are strong protections regarding the health, welfare, and safety of our patients.”

“There are strong and robust regulations in place to protect our patients, but our focus is on any regulation that is duplicative, unnecessary, or actually gets in the way of our ability to effectively care for our patients,” he says.

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