A new analysis published in the America Journal of Public Health has found that Republican and Democratic governors have very different visions for the future of healthcare, with Republican leaders favouring maintaining or shrinking public health insurance programmes and Democratic leaders advancing new proposals to extend coverage.
Harvard researchers analysed the healthcare platforms of the 72 Republican and Democratic nominees running for governor in the 2018 election, examining position statements posted on campaign websites, and identified four major healthcare reform proposals: introducing work requirements for Medicaid, expanding Medicaid in states that have not yet done so, creating a public insurance option, and transitioning to a state-based single-payer system.
The researchers found that five Republican nominees proposed adding work requirements for their state's Medicaid programme, while six Democratic nominees proposed creating a new public insurance option to compete alongside private plans. In addition, they found that all Democratic nominees included healthcare platforms on their campaign websites, which is something only half of the Republican nominees did.
Micah Johnson, an author of the AJPH article and M.D. candidate at Harvard Medical School, said: "With a divided government in Washington, states have an opening to provide leadership on health reform in the next two years. State efforts to expand public coverage could serve as a model for future national reform, much as the Massachusetts health reform plan in 2006 provided the blueprint for the Affordable Care Act.”
Sanjay Kishore, an author of the article and M.D. candidate at Harvard Medical School, said: “At a time when many voters consider healthcare their top priority, it's remarkable that 10 candidates for governor led with a platform of single-payer or a public option reforms never achieved anywhere in the US. This may signal a desire for more progressive health policy.”