There are many significant milestones in our nation’s history of voting.
- In 1776, America’s birth year, only white men age 21 and older who owned land were permitted to vote.
- In 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution granted full voting rights to all men born or naturalized in the United States.
- In 1870, the Fifteenth Amendment was adopted to eliminate racial barriers to voting.
- In 1920, through the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment women finally received the right to vote in national elections.
- And in 1971, our nation ratified the Twenty-first Amendment to lower the voting age to 18.
While we often take this cherished right for granted today, we sometimes forget that the right of citizens to cast a ballot has been a slow and incremental process; each step accompanied by resistance, fierce debate and often civil unrest.
That is why it is so important that every one of us who can get to the voting booth on Nov. 8 (if you haven’t already done early voting) and exercise our constitutional right to elect our leaders and express our opinions through the democratic process.
Midterm elections tend to draw lower turnouts. But they are every bit as important in determining the direction and priorities of our nation.
This year, control of the House and Senate is very much up for grabs. The election results certainly will have implications for our key agenda items on Capitol Hill when Congress returns for its lame-duck session. In the short-term, these include:
- Establishing a temporary per diem payment to address a backlog in hospital patient discharges due to workforce shortages;
- Making permanent certain COVID-19 public health emergency waivers;
- Extending or making permanent programs that support rural communities, including the Medicare-dependent Hospital and enhanced Low-volume Adjustment programs;
- Increasing the number of Medicare-supported graduate medical education positions;
- Streamlining Medicare Advantage prior authorization requirements;
- Creating a special statutory designation for metropolitan anchor hospitals serving historically marginalized communities; and
- Preventing the Statutory PAYGO sequester from taking effect.
Several weeks ago, we relaunched our “We Care, We Vote” webpage with content designed to aid hospitals’ and health systems’ participation in this important election. We hope you have had an opportunity to use these tools — including those focused on encouraging employees to register to vote and questions you could ask candidates.
Four days from now, we all have the opportunity to once again participate in what it means to live in a democracy.