First 100 Biden/Harris days

(Illustration: Monica Duwel, Washington University)

Election Day turned into Election Week, then two months of corrosion, court cases, controversy and, ultimately, tragedy in the citadel of U.S. democracy.

America continues to suffer – from the pandemic, from economic fallout and mass unemployment, from social and political fissures.

Amid this backdrop, change arrives in two of the three branches of the U.S. government: President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris as well as a new cabinet assumes control upon the Jan. 20 inauguration, and a retooled Congress, with both the House of Representatives and Senate either closely or evenly split among Republicans and Democrats.

Faculty experts from across Washington University in St. Louis draw upon their research, their instruction, their experience and their thought leadership to proffer insight and ideas for the new administration, the new beginning.

(If available, full articles are linked in boldface at the bottom of each entry.)

Health care

Karen Joynt Maddox, MD, an expert and researcher in hospital and health-system efficiency among many other aspects of modern-day health care, expects the new Biden/Kamala Harris administration to retool and reinforce Obamacare, rather than the previous administration’s failed attempts to repeal and replace.

As co-director of the Center for Health Economics and Policy, an assistant professor in the cardiovascular division of the School of Medicine and a cardiologist, she has both worked under and scrutinized the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare – launched while President Biden was vice president. She offers areas ripe for both quick and gradual change: insurance ratings; inclusion of the self-employed; lower payments to Medicare clinicians and hospitals; and more competition-inducing and enrollment-broadening initiatives.

“While the Affordable Care Act was an enormously important piece of legislation, it was not a perfect one. In more typical times, a bill as large as that one would have undergone a number of bipartisan fixes already – things like shoring up issues with insurance rating areas, streamlining Medicare payment policies, and so forth. In part due to the contentious way in which it was passed in the first place, many Republican policymakers, including [then Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell, essentially refused to participate in any fixes short of repeal. Now that repeal is realistically dead, I hope we can have conversations across the political spectrum on how we could pass legislation to improve access, quality and outcomes of health care in this country.”

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