- Election Update: On November 8, 2016, Pennsylvania residents elected candidates for all 203 seats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and 25 seats in the Pennsylvania Senate. Senator David Argall (R-Berks, Schuylkill) and Representatives Gary Day (R-Lehigh, Berks), Robert Freeman (DNorthampton), Jerry Knowles (R-Schuylkill, Berks, Carbon), Ryan MacKenzie (R-Berks, Lehigh), Jack Rader (R-Monroe), Steve Samuelson (D-Northampton) and Peter Schweyer (D-Lehigh) were reelected without opposition. Representatives Rosemary Brown (R-Monroe, Pike), Joe Emrick (R-Northampton), Marcia Hahn (R-Northampton), Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon), Dan McNeill (D-Lehigh, Northampton), Michael Schlossberg (D-Lehigh), Justin Simmons (R-Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton) and Craig Staats (R-Bucks) were reelected despite opposition. Representative David Parker (R-Monroe) was defeated by Democratic challenger Maureen Madden. After 11 terms in office, Representative Julie Harhart (R-Lehigh, Northampton) did not seek reelection and will be succeeded by Republican Zachary Mako, a helicopter pilot in the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.
- Pennsylvania House and Senate Reorganization: House Republicans gained three seats and will maintain their majority for the fourth consecutive session with 122 Republicans and 81 Democrats. House Republicans renewed their leadership positions, except that Representative Stan Saylor (R-York) will serve as the Appropriations Chairman, Representative Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery) will serve as Caucus Chairman and Representative Kurt Masser (R-Columbia, Montour, Northumberland) will serve as Caucus Administrator. House Democrats renewed all of their leadership positions. Senate Republicans gained four seats and now hold a 34 to 16 majority. Senate Republicans and Democrats renewed all of their leadership positions.
New Jersey IssuesLegislation
- S. 2419: Continuing Education Prescription Opioids. On June 27, 2016, Senator Joseph Vitale (DMiddlesex) introduced legislation that would require certain health care professionals to meet continuing education requirements on issues concerning prescription opioid drugs as a condition to licensure and license renewal, including courses covering responsible prescribing practices, alternatives to opioids for managing and treating pain and the risks and signs of opioid abuse, addiction and diversion. On November 14, 2016, the bill was approved by the Senate by a vote of 22 to 7. Senator Michael Doherty (R-Hunterdon, Warren) opposed the measure, which has been forwarded to the Assembly Health and Senior Services Committee for consideration. The New Jersey Hospital Association supports the legislation.
- New Jersey Election Update: On November 8, 2016, Warren County voters reelected Freeholder Jason Sarnoski (R) to a third consecutive three year term in office. Freeholder Sarnoski defeated Democratic challenger Carol Cook by a margin of 61% to 39%. Residents also elected retired Washington Township Police Chief James McDonald (R) as its Sheriff. Chief McDonald replaces David Gallant (R), who chose not to run for a third term.
- H.R. 5273: The Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act of 2016. On May 18, 2016, Congressmen Pat Tiberi (R-12-OH) and Jim McDermott (D-7-WA) introduced legislation which would permit a hospital to receive hospital outpatient prospective payment system rates for new outpatient sites if the hospital certifies to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that it executed a binding agreement to construct the site before November 2, 2015. The bill would also modify the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program, which reduces Medicare reimbursements for hospitals deemed to have excess readmissions, to account for the socioeconomic status of patients. The American Hospital Association, Premier, the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania and the Association of American Medical Colleges support the bill. On June 7, 2016, the House approved the bill, and it was sent to the Senate Committee on Finance for consideration. Hospital associations are actively lobbying the Senate to pass the bill before the 114th Congress adjourns on December 9, 2016.
- Federal Election Update: Donald Trump (R) will become the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017. Senator Patrick Toomey (R-PA) and Congressmen Charles Dent (R-15-PA), Matt Cartwright (D-17-PA) and Leonard Lance (R-7-NJ) were reelected despite opposition. Brian Fitzpatrick (R), a retired special assistant U.S. Attorney and former FBI agent, was elected to succeed his brother, Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (R-8-PA), in Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional district, which includes St. Luke’s Hospital – Quakertown Campus. Although a few Congressional seats are still undecided, House Republicans will again hold a majority in the 115th Congress with at least 239 seats. Republicans were also able to maintain control of the Senate, ensuring at least two years of single party rule in Washington. President-elect Trump and Republican leaders are mulling several options for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.
- Federal House and Senate Reorganization: On November 15, 2016, House Republicans held their leadership elections and voted to retain their current slate of leaders for the 115th Congress. Congressman Tim Ryan (D-13-OH) has announced that he will challenge Nancy Pelosi (D-12-CA) for the position of House Minority Leader. As a result, House Democrats have postponed their leadership elections until November 30, 2016. On November 16, 2016, Senate Republicans and Democrats held their leadership elections. Senate Republicans re-elected their existing leaders. Senate Democrats announced that Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) will replace Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) as Senate Minority Leader for the 115th Congress. Senator Bob Casey (R-PA) has been selected to serve as the Ranking Member for the Senate Special Committee on Aging. The committee exercises oversight of federal programs and policies impacting older Americans, including Medicare, Social Security and the Older Americans Act. Although the committee does not have direct legislative authority, it wields considerable influence in conducting detailed studies, carrying out oversight and pursuing investigations.