The Health Care Priorities of the Biden Harris Administration and Post Election Outlook for the 117th Congress
November 11, 2020
In a historic presidential election that began during the COVID-19 pandemic and ended with record voter turnout and mail-in ballots, former Vice President Joseph Biden of Delaware was declared the 46th president of the United States, and Senator Kamala Harris of California was elected the first woman, African-American, and Asian-American to hold the office of Vice President. As President-elect Biden prepares for the transition to the presidency, President Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee have filed numerous legal challenges in several battleground states. Additionally, two run-off elections in Georgia on January 5, 2021 will determine the majority of the Senate.
Health care issues loomed large throughout the campaign. The federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was a central issue, particularly in the closing weeks as President Trump and other senior administration officials tested positive for the coronavirus. The confirmation battle over Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court of the United States, and oral arguments in California v. Texas scheduled exactly one week after the presidential election, focused debate on the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Additionally, President Trump campaigned that he “has already done more than any other President to lower drug costs,” while the Biden campaign championed drug pricing policies based on government negotiation and importation of drugs.
While it is not certain how the next several weeks will play out with the legal challenges and Senate run-off elections, it is clear that President-elect Biden plans to move aggressively on a national plan to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, prioritize strengthening the ACA, and address health disparities and persons with disabilities. Much of the early efforts of the Biden-Harris administration will be through executive branch actions to reverse Trump administration policies, and develop new administrative actions and rulemakings. The following white paper is a high-level overview of the transition process and key health care priorities of the Biden-Harris administration.