Facing a potentially divided government, Congress and the incoming Biden administration will have to table any ambitious and disruptive plans for health reform in exchange for more moderate approaches. And that may not be a bad thing, according to respondents to Modern Healthcare’s most recent Power Panel survey.
CEOs responding to the survey—conducted the week following the Nov. 3 election—were split roughly 60%-40% as to whether a potentially divided government would help or hurt their organizations. Congress’ final makeup won’t be known until after results are tallied for the Jan. 5 runoff election for both of Georgia’s Senate seats. As things stand now, Republicans have 50 seats in the upper chamber and the Democratic caucus—this includes two independents—has 48.
“If you have a divided Congress once again, it leads to more moderate policy, with no extreme policy to the left or to the right,” said Warner Thomas, CEO of Ochsner Health. “Hopefully in a situation with a Republican Senate and a Democratic House we can have healthcare policy results that are favorable and moderate.”
One area where healthcare executives are united though, is in wanting Congress to do more to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Randy Oostra, CEO of Toledo, Ohio-based ProMedica, said he’s optimistic that a rise in coronavirus cases will prompt lawmakers to act even with a divided legislative branch.
“Out of what has happened, maybe they can put partisanship aside to find a path forward. It’s time for Congress to lead on this issue,” Oostra said.