Election hinges on healthcare vote

On the eve of Election Day, Medicare and healthcare may prove to be decisive factors in the presidential election tomorrow.

In a Reuters/Ipsos poll Friday, voters said healthcare was the third most important issue in this election, following the economy and unemployment.

Like the traditional core base of voters along party lines, Mitt Romney has captured the support of seniors, while Barack Obama has largely missed out on the senior vote.

"We consistently found that seniors were the most opposed group to 'Obamacare,'" Tom Jensen of Public Policy Polling told Politico.

In a countdown to Election Day, the age 50-and-up crowd prefers Romney to Obama, with 51 percent for the Republican candidate compared to 43 percent for the president, according to the Reuters/Ipsos poll ending Nov. 4, Reuters reported.

When asked about their choice in a president on healthcare issues, specifically, older voters chose Romney, 43 percent to 39 percent. However, among voters of all age groups, Obama had a slightly greater lead on healthcare issues by 42 percent versus 39 percent, Reuters noted.

For providers, the 2010 healthcare law provided only some relief, although more was expected in malpractice and liability issues, NewsWorks reported.

Although not a strong focal point in their campaigns, both candidates last month voiced their support for malpractice reform in their New England Journal of Medicine commentaries.

In the meantime, providers are waiting for some clarity on whether the Affordable Care Act that started in 2010 will be fully implemented or even accelerated by Tuesday's outcome.

"We are stuck in the middle, and we are challenged on how we can get from where we are to where we need to be," Steven Sivak, chairman of medicine at the Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia, told NewsWorks. "So I think this is a very tumultuous time in the profession. Fast forward 10 years from now, I think things will be better, but I think the next 10 years will be very challenging."

For more information:
- read the Reuters article and poll
- see the Politico article
- here's the NewsWorks article

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