GOP gains will mean more scrutiny of health reform

Should Republicans make big gains in Congress and state governorships across the nation after today's elections, as expected, all things healthcare related that have been implemented by the current administration likely will come under heavy scrutiny as outlined by both Politico and Kaiser Health News. From the appointments of HHS and CMS heads Kathleen Sebelius and Donald Berwick, respectively, to the implementation of Affordable Care Act last March, expect no stone to go unturned. 

"Oversight of the existing law will build a case for full repeal," Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) said, according to KHN. Barton is vying to become chairman of the House Energy Committee for next year. "We have to aggressively work to repeal the entire bill," he said. "As part of the process, we'll have very aggressive oversight." 

That oversight includes heavy questioning of Sebelius and Berwick, both of whom he believes have been able to avoid accountability when it comes to reform. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who also is in the running for the House Energy and Commerce Committee spot, echoed Barton's sentiments. 

"I don't know that a lot of people know her," Upton told Politico. "She's only been up once before the committee." 

With regard to the gubernatorial races, Republican victories in currently Democratic states could mean major delays in the enactment of the law, according to Kavita Patel, director of the health policy program at the New America Foundation, who also talked to Politico. "Governors are going to have a great deal of control on how things come out," she said. "You could have states potentially flipping from a Democrat or moderate Republican to a more conservative Republican who doesn't want to do anything. It would roadblock the expansion of health insurance reform." 

Races in the Midwest will be especially important to watch, notes the Associated Press, because legislative districts in those states are being redesigned or, in some cases, eliminated altogether. 

"When you look across the Great Lakes and the Midwest, that is a region of the country that has been dominated by the Democrats at the state level," Republican Governor's Association spokesman Mike Schrimpf told the AP. "We are either tied or ahead in a swath of the country between Pennsylvania and Iowa." 

To learn more:
- read this Kaiser Health News story
- check out this Politico article
- here's another Politico piece on races to watch
- read this Associated Press article