By Chris Pirschel, Staff Writer, and Alec Stone, ONS Public Affairs Director

At Stake in the 2018 Midterms: Medicaid Expansion

Healthcare reform has been a hot political topic since before the introduction of the Affordable Care Act. Potential changes in the American healthcare system will be at the hands of which party controls the House of Representatives and the Senate. The upcoming midterm elections in November 2018 could determine a shift in power and potentially add further Medicaid expansion to the list of incoming health care changes.

Currently, Medicaid expansion is popular in public opinion polls. It’s one of the top three elements voters want, along with coverage for pre-existing conditions and keeping dependents up to age 26 on one’s health insurance plan. How this plays out in states that oppose expansion will impact the ballot box in November—as well as in upcoming state elections. Since state legislatures determine how and where the funding is allocated for Medicaid in their state, any restrictions put on recipients will affect health care directly. How will the American people respond? Oncology nurses can share their voice at the local, state, and federal level. Get involved with ONS’s advocacy efforts.

Health Groups Call on FDA to Speed Up Regulation of E-Cigarettes, Cigars

Despite the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) commitment to cracking down on tobacco products, delays within the agency are leaving harmful products on the shelves. Nearly a dozen major healthcare groups urged the FDA to reconsider delays and enforce regulations sooner.

ONS continues to work in several coalitions urging the FDA to regulate tobacco products. Chief among them is the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids. ONS frequently sends letters demanding that the FDA have the authority to regulate these products and that the Center for Tobacco Products be allowed to strengthen its jurisdiction. Unfortunately, sometimes it requires a lawsuit, and, in this case, the state attorney generals have taken that route. The current FDA commissioner is a huge proponent for tobacco cessation, so let’s see how the agency reacts to the litigation. Read ONS’ most recent support for such restrictions. 

New Study Ignites Debate Over Cost of Medicare for All

On the heels of the recent Koch-funded study that determined Medical for All would save American taxpayers more than $2 trillion through a 10-year period, a separate study found that moving to a government-funded healthcare system could increase the deficit by nearly $32.6 trillion.

The numbers are astronomical—both in potential spending and savings—and most interpretations depend on the reader’s political perspective. As a reminder, these discussions are not about health care; they’re about the money. How the federal government chooses to allocate dollars and for what reasons is the real crux of the argument. Until that can be solved, Medicare for All is gaining support in a variety of forms on Capitol Hill and among American voters. This might rise to the top of the policy discussion list for the upcoming 2020 presidential election.