Good morning ... How much do I love you, Vitals readers? Enough that I'm going to miss Kentucky basketball tonight — and they're playing Duke! — to bring you everything you need to know from election night. (The scheduling here does feel like it was engineered to punish me, specifically.)
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Medicaid, Medicaid, Medicaid. It hasn’t been the dominant national theme, even in an election season dominated by health care, but Medicaid has more on the line tonight than any other area of health policy.
By the numbers: 17 states haven’t adopted the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion.
That’s an upper bound, obviously — it’s by no means safe to assume all of these states will end up expanding. But Florida alone could cover more than 700,000 new people; the universe of possible coverage gains here is large, even without a clean sweep.
Two expansion states also face big decisions tonight.
The bottom line: Expanded Medicaid coverage, much of it in red or purple states, is one of the most consequential on-the-ground changes these midterms could produce.
The balance of power in Congress (duh):
California's dialysis initiative: The dialysis industry has raised a record $110 million to defeat a ballot initiative that would cap its profits.
Other ballot initiatives:
Political action committees for health care companies have mostly donated to Republicans in this cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That's true across multiple sectors — including doctors, pharmaceutical companies and insurers.
Hospitals are the exception. The American Hospital Association's PAC had given significantly more to Democratic candidates, as of Oct. 26. Individual hospital systems' PACs break in both directions.
Between the lines: A whole lot of Democratic candidates have sworn off corporate PAC money.
Flashback: Trump pits Republicans against their donors
LifePoint Health has made waves among investors who think the hospital company’s $120 million golden parachute pay packages — spread across 4 executives as part of the company’s buyout from private equity firm Apollo Global Management — are inappropriate.
By the numbers: LifePoint's payouts have been higher than other companies that have been acquired over the past 2 years, according to federal proxy disclosures reviewed by Axios' Bob Herman:
The big picture: More health care executives are primed for huge paydays if their own respective deals go through, thanks to the frenzy of dealmaking in the industry.
Mac Miller died from an overdose of fentanyl, cocaine and alcohol, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner announced yesterday.
Why it matters: Opioid addiction isn't just a problem in rural America, Axios' Caitlin Owens notes. It's impacting lives across the country, among diverse communities and demographics.