Reid: Health reform may get 'tweaked'

Now that the elections are over and Republicans are basking in the glow of yesterday's victories that helped them seize control of the House of Representatives and added to gains in the Senate, whither healthcare?

That depends on whom you ask. Last night as election results rolled in and it became clear that the Democrats and the Obama administration were taking a thumping, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the likely new House Majority leader, pledged to repeal healthcare reform "right away," according to CBS. Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), who is poised to be the next Speaker of the House, echoed those sentiments.

Smaller changes may be more likely, however, with the Democrats maintaining a majority in the Senate. Harry Reid (D-Nev.), still the Senate Majority Leader after winning a nail-biting race against Tea Party Republican Sharron Angle, told CNN, "If there's some tweaking we need to do with the healthcare bill, I'm ready for some tweaking." Still, it's possible that Republicans will use there newfound power to block funding that would implement key parts of the overhaul, such as the establishment of state insurance exchanges, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Three states voted on amendments to their constitutions to block the federal health insurance mandate. Two of the states, Arizona and Oklahoma, voted to pass the amendment, at least symbolically nullifying the requirement. Colorado voted against the amendment to block the mandate.

The hospital lobby is taking a non-partisan stance on the elections. In a statement released Wednesday, Rich Umbdenstock, the president and CEO of the American Hospital Association said that the AHA will continue to work with both political parties so that hospitals can continue to serve patients and communities. During the upcoming lame-duck session, immediate issues that need to be addressed revolve around Medicare physician payments, fixing provisions in final Medicare regulations; correcting problems in healthIT rules and extending expiring provisions of the law, he noted.

To learn more:
- read the CBS story
- watch the CNN video of Sen. Harry Reid
- read the Reuters article
- read the NPR article
- read the Wall Street Journal article

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