On this episode of the podcast, Terry and Bob discuss what a Democratic majority in Washington D.C. means for patients. With Democratic Senate candidates in Georgia winning their runoff races, federal Democrats will now control the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Presidency. This political control gives them immense power to implement their healthcare vision. But will it help patients with rare and chronic diseases?
Terry interviews David Mark, a senior editor at the Washington Examiner, who explains how one-party rule will affect healthcare policy in 2021. Mark explains that Democrats’ healthcare policy goals will take a backseat to the Covid-19 response for at least the first part of the year. With Covid-19 rampant throughout the country – to the point where Los Angeles County hospitals have run out of ICU beds – Covid policy will dominate Democrats’ initial healthcare efforts.
Mark explains that even with a majority, it will be difficult for Democrats to pass significant healthcare legislation. While legislation can pass via a simple majority through a process known as budget reconciliation, margins are too slim to pass another massive healthcare overhaul no matter how much pressure Democrats receive from their leftist constituents.
Perhaps the biggest effect of one-party Democratic rule will be the ease in which President-elect Biden can confirm his cabinet picks, including Xavier Becerra as Health and Human Services director. Easily staffing his executive will allow the Biden administration to begin passing new healthcare orders and rules quickly.
One such rule that is of particular interest to patients is President Trump’s “most favored nations” rule. This order puts de facto price controls on Medicare Part B drugs, threatening access for about 20 percent of patients in the first two years of implementation. The courts have recently blocked the rule, yet Mark isn’t sure how the Biden administration will proceed with it.
Field correspondent Kate Pecora interviews Debilee Flores about her battle with Chron’s Disease and the healthcare discrimination she’s endured along the way as a woman of color. Debilee tells her story of how she was treated differently by doctors due to her skin color and how she’s become an extra vocal advocate to receive the care she deserves. She highlights how she had to dig for her own answers when it comes to treatment. Now that she has finally found good healthcare, she gives back to her patient community by sharing the information she’s learning from her specialists.