Midterm Election Results: Split Decision Nationally, Good Night for PA Democrats in State Races
Yesterday was a mixed bag of results nationally for both parties. The Democrats took control of the House Representatives, while the Republicans maintained control of the Senate. After a cursory look at the federal election results in Pennsylvania and nationwide, it looks like the blue wave did materialize like some had predicted. Nationally, the Democrats gained a little better than the historic average of 28 seats for the party out of power during a presidential mid-term election. The Democrats in Pennsylvania took advantage of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court-drawn congressional map and congressional retirements to flip seats in the Southeast. The breakdown of the PA Congressional Delegation prior to last night was 13-5 in favor of the Republicans; after last night, the PA Congressional Delegation breakdown will be 9-9 between Democrats and Republicans.
In the Senate, Incumbent Senator Bob Casey had an easy time dispatching his challenger Lou Barletta. Nationally, the Republicans held control of the Senate and added 3 to 4 seats to their majority. The Senate still has races that are “too close to call” in Montana and Arizona, and in Mississippi there will be a run-off election on November 27, because no one received more than 50% of the vote.
Turning back to Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf defeated his opponent Scott Wagner by a 17% point margin, ensuring him 4 more years in the Governor’s mansion. In the General Assembly, the Senate Democrats were able to pick up 4-5 seats (one seat is “too close to call”). The PA Democrat Senate picked up at least 3 seats in the Southeast and one in the Southwest. The race in Bucks County between Incumbent State Senator Tommy Tomlinson and Democrat Challenger Tina Davis is “too close to call” with Senator Tomlinson leading by 500 or less. Incumbent State Senate Republicans Tom McGarricle (R – Delaware County) and John Rafferty (R – Montgomery) lost to their Democrat challengers. In the Southwest (Allegheny County – District 38), Democrat Lindsey Williams defeated Republican Jeremy Shaffer, who won the primary against the Incumbent Republican Senator Randy Vulakovich by a margin of 50.22% to 49.78%. When the PA Senate returns in January, the Republicans will maintain control of the Senate by a margin of 29 – 21 or 30 – 20 (depending on the outcome of the Tomlinson v. Davis race in Bucks County).
New members of the PA Senate are as follows:
The Democrats also had a good night in state House races. The Democrats picked up 10 seats in the PA House. Again as in the PA Senate, House Democrats picked up most of their seats in the collar counties of Philadelphia. The Republicans had 121 of the House’s 203 seats to defend. Out of those 121 seats, 20 seats were open because of Incumbent Republican retirements. Democrats won 5 of the open seats, which were held by Republicans, and they unseated 8 Republican incumbents; however, the Democrats also lost 3 of their own seats to Republicans for a net gain of 10. The Republicans will still maintain control of the PA House of Representatives by a margin of 111 – 92.
New members of the House are as follows:
On the national level, it will be interesting to see whether the Democrat Speaker of the House (presumably, Nancy Pelosi) will be able to manage the various factions of the Democrat caucus. As you may recall, Speaker Paul Ryan had the same issues with the Republican caucus. Look for the President, Senate, and House to work together on issues of infrastructure and other smaller initiatives. The big issues of health care, immigration, the deficit, the passage of a budget, and tax cuts will probably not be resolved and be left as issues for the 2020 election.
At the state level, the Governor can pursue large initiatives such as raising the minimum wage, tax increases, pension reform, and other such issues because he will not be on the ballot in four years; however, both chambers of the General Assembly are still controlled by Republicans by comfortable margins, so the Governor’s initiatives will be tempered by a more conservative General Assembly.
RCPA looks forward to our continued working relationship with the Governor, returning members of the General Assembly, and we look forward to meeting and working with the newly elected members.
For all election results from the Pennsylvania Department of State, please check here.
Questions, contact RCPA Director of Government Affairs Jack Phillips.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | September 27, 2018
Contact: Press Office | (202) 226-4972
Click here to watch the hearing beginning at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Opening Statement of Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D.
Good morning. Thank you to everyone for joining us this morning to discuss a topic that is important to each and every one of us, maternal mortality. This is a subject matter that has been brought to the forefront by Members of this Subcommittee, actions of State Legislatures, and the media. Having spent nearly three decades as an OB/GYN, I believe it should be a national goal to eliminate all preventable maternal mortality – even a single maternal death is too many.
All too often do we read about stories of seemingly healthy pregnant women who are thrilled to be having a child, and to everyone’s surprise, suffers severe complications, or death during pregnancy, birth, or post-partum. The death of a new or expecting mother is a tragic event that devastates everyone involved, but in many cases these are preventable scenarios.
Opening Statement of Chairman Greg Walden
Today the Subcommittee on Health is holding a discussion on the critical issue of maternal mortality. In fact, we will examine as issue that is literally a matter of life and death for women all across the country. Thank you, Dr. Burgess, for calling this hearing. As someone with decades of real-world experience as an OB/GYN, you know better than most how important this issue is.
This is a difficult topic, and one that is close to my heart. Far too many mothers die because of complications during pregnancy and the effects of such a tragedy on any family is impossible to comprehend.
Witness Testimony and Additional Background
Click here to view the hearing background memo and witness testimony on the Energy and Commerce Committee website.
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On July 30, 2018, President Trump signed HR 6042 which delays the requirement for personal care service providers to utilize an electronic visit verification (EVV) system. This action changes the deadline by one year, to become effective January 1, 2020. HR 6042 was signed into law in order to delay reduction in the Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for personal care services furnished without an EVV system, and also requires more stakeholder input into the implementation process. For questions, contact Carol Ferenz, RCPA IDD Division Director.
July 26 marked the 28th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), signed into law in 1990 by President George Bush. The White House released the following proclamation:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 25, 2018
Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, 2018
By the President of the United States of America
On the 28th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), we celebrate this historic legislation, which echoed our Nation’s founding promise to recognize and secure the equal rights of all men and women. Today, we reaffirm our commitment to cultivate further opportunities for all Americans to live full and independent lives, and recognize the many contributions enabled by expanded participation of Americans with disabilities in our society.
President George H.W. Bush signed the ADA into law on July 26, 1990. It has transformed the lives of millions of Americans living with disabilities by promoting their equal access to employment, government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and public transportation. Today, people of all ages with disabilities are better able to thrive in the community, pursue careers, contribute to our economy, and fully participate in American society.
Our Nation must continue to build upon this foundation and continue to further the participation of the more than 56 million Americans living with disabilities. My Administration continues to encourage research that will lead to advancements in technology, medicine, and other fields and better enable independent living. We are also expanding and promoting equal education and employment opportunities for Americans with disabilities to live and work. In this regard, in June of last year, I signed an Executive Order to develop more apprenticeship programs for all people, including those with disabilities. Additional training will encourage better involvement from businesses and allow people with disabilities to contribute meaningfully to a wide variety of industries.
As we commemorate the anniversary of the ADA, we recommit ourselves to fostering an environment in which all Americans have the opportunity to pursue the American Dream.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim July 26, 2018, as a day in celebration of the 28th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. I call upon all Americans to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities that celebrate the contributions of Americans with disabilities and to renew our commitment to achieving the promise of our freedom for all Americans.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand eighteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-third.
DONALD J. TRUMP
Breaking: CMS Proposes Historic Changes to Restore the Doctor-Patient Relationship & Streamline Clinical Billing
From HIT Consultant
by Jasmine Pennic 07/12/2018
On Thursday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed historic changes that would increase the amount of time that doctors and other clinicians can spend with their patients by reducing the burden of paperwork that clinicians face when billing Medicare. The proposed rules would fundamentally improve the nation’s healthcare system and help restore the doctor-patient relationship by empowering clinicians to use their electronic health records (EHRs) to document clinically meaningful information, instead of information that is only for billing purposes… Read full article.
This week, both the US Senate and US House introduced bipartisan legislation (HR 5912 in the House and S 2897 in the Senate) designed to delay implementation of the Electronic Visit Verification (EVV) provision of the 21st Century Cures Act and require public input from stakeholders. The bill was led by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and co-sponsored by a range of Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and House. The EVV delay bill gives states an additional year to implement EVV, having it take effect on January 1, 2020 instead of January 1, 2019.
In late 2016, Congress had ordered states to install EVV systems as a way of preventing fraud in Medicaid as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, but many challenges arose after the bill passed. This is partially due to CMS not releasing guidance on the EVV statute until May 2018, leaving states in the dark for a full 18 months following passage of the EVV law. Even despite CMS’ recent guidance, many concerns remain about which disability supports and services are required to comply with the rule. Additionally, because there has been little stakeholder input, questions abound about privacy, costs, and other aspects of compliance.
Please contact your legislators and ask them to support the EVV delay bill. The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) has been instrumental in advocating for this legislation; RCPA is proud to be a member of ANCOR and appreciates their initiative on this issue.