Big changes in Minnesota; status quo in Washington D.C.

Analysis of yesterday’s election is in full swing. While the situation in Washington D.C. is largely unchanged, in Minnesota, we saw sweeping and unexpected changes to our legislature. What does this mean for children’s health? Our advocacy team breaks down the election and its potential impact.

The results are in

With President Obama winning re-election and no changes in the majorities in the U.S. Congress or Senate, the most notable result from yesterday’s election was the shift in power in the Minnesota State Legislature. After two years of Republican control in the Minnesota House and Senate, Democrats now hold notable majorities in both the House and Senate. With Gov. Mark Dayton as the leader of the state, state government is now entirely in Democratic control. You can find out who your Senator and Representative is through the Minnesota Legislature website.

There will be a lot of discussion in the coming days about what Minnesotans said with their votes. Our initial take is that the presidential race (which has historically produced positive results for Democrats) and the presence of two controversial amendments on the ballot had a significant impact on turnout and voter sentiment. Those factors, combined with an historic state government shutdown led Minnesotans to reject divisiveness and send the message that they expect results and want their legislators to work together.

National impact: Affordable Care Act moves forward

With President Obama’s re-election we know that the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) will move forward. States will now have to move quickly on implementation of the law’s provisions, including establishing a health insurance exchange. We expect that legislative Democrats and the Governor will move quickly ahead on this effort.

State impact: A shift in power

Policy decisions made at the state level have the greatest impact on Children’s day-to-day operations, so we are particularly focused on the state results.

The state budget deficit still looms large and will need to be addressed in 2013. With Democrats in control, it’s fair to assume more options will be on the table as legislators work to resolve a projected $1 billion state deficit. The changes in the legislature don’t remove the risk of further cuts to the health care system in a difficult year, but it likely means that new revenue raising proposals will also be considered (e.g. sales, income and/or corporate taxes) to balance the budget.

What’s next?

A number of important decisions will be made in the next two months leading up to the start of the state legislative session in January. In these weeks, leadership of the Senate and House will be selected and Gov. Dayton and legislative leaders will outline their budget priorities and policy agendas.

That’s why we encourage you to stay tuned! With so many anticipated decisions and developments that will have a direct impact on Children’s, it’s important that people who care about our organization and kids’ health stay engaged. You can do that by signing up to be a voice for children, and by following Children’s on Facebook and Twitter @childrenspolicy.

For complete election results, visit Minnesota Public Radio’s election results page.