Every AIDS advocate knows something big happened last week. Partisan politics aside, what do the election results mean for people living with or at risk of HIV/AIDS and the policies that impact them?
First a quick recap:
Republicans retook control of the U.S. House of Representatives, captured six state legislatures, and gained 12 governor’s seats. GOP leaders have made no secret that they are interpreting the election results as a mandate to repeal or weaken elements of health care reform passed under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in March.
Democrats, for their part, were able to hold onto the U.S. Senate – although their majority is now just 53 seats. The D’s also picked up three governor’s seats including California, the largest state. Several state legislatures now find themselves split between Democratic and Republican control, just as states begin to turn to the task of implementing reforms laid out in the ACA.
The impact divided government will have on the implementation of the ACA and the President’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy remains to be seen. One thing is certain, in Congress and in statehouses across the country, AIDS advocates will need to monitor and engage every step of the way as substantive and far reaching decisions are still going to be made.
Here are a few good ways to stay informed over the coming days:
amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, just released a report highlighting the impact of budget cuts recently proposed by the incoming House Republican majority.
Tomorrow (11/10), the National Conference of State Legislatures will be hosting a webinar on the 2011 timeline for state level implementation of health care reform. State level victories by the GOP means opponents of health care reform will be well positioned to obstruct or alter state-level implementation. This means advocates need to be prepared to aggressively push every step of the way.
Next Monday (11/15), Dose of Change is teaming up with Treatment Access Expansion Project and the Coalition for a National AIDS Strategy to host a webinar on 1115 Medicaid waivers, which may provide a non-legislative route for states to immediately expand their Medicaid programs to low-income people living with HIV without having to wait until 2014.
Personally, over the last week I’ve been loving my subscription to Kaiser’s Daily Health Policy Report even more than I usually do. It’s an easy way to keep tabs on important health policy developments but also provides a broad overview of how health policy is covered in the media, which is important for advocates when we begin to think about how to shape our messages. Check out Kaiser’s great survey on voter opinion of the Affordable Care Act.
Leave a comment and let us know what you are ready, watching, or listening to.
Much more to come, so stay tuned.