Republican House members just introduced their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.
Their bill has been shrouded in secrecy despite the fact that they’ve had seven years to come up with a plan. In fact, when some lawmakers actually went hunting for the bill last week, they were told that it wasn’t ready yet.
Well, now it’s ready – but committee leaders are completely bucking the rules by not holding hearings on the bill.
That’s not acceptable. Health care is too important to leave the public – and nurses – out of the process.
We don’t have a moment to lose. Tell your U.S. representative right now: Congress must hold full hearings on this bill, and they must hear expert testimony from the people who see our health care system every day: Nurses like you.
This bill has the potential to dramatically change your life – as well as the lives of your patients. If Congress truly cares about improving healthcare for all Americans, they need to give this bill fair and open hearings, and they need to hear from nurses before moving forward.
No one outside of Republican members of the House have reviewed this bill yet – and so many questions need to be answered:
- How will this impact coverage and access for those with pre-existing conditions, or total lifetime caps?
- How will this affect access to insurance through subsidies and Medicaid expansion?
- What new rules could impact how nurses provide care, and how hospitals and clinics are administered?
Congress must answer those questions and more – and absolutely cannot shut nurses out. Patients trust nurses to give them straight answers – and Congress needs to hear straight answers from nurses now more than ever.
Demand Congress hold fair and open hearings where they can hear from nurses like you before moving ahead on something so important. Send your message right away.
Yesterday, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) re-introduced S. 445, the Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act . This legislation would allow nurse practitioners (NPs), clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) and certified nurse midwives (CNMs) to certify their patient’s eligibility for home health care services. ANA strongly supports S. 445.
Current Medicare policy prevents these advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) from providing appropriate care for their patients. Medicare has recognized the autonomous practice of these APRNs for nearly two decades, as they provide the majority of skilled care for home health patients. While these health care professionals are authorized to perform face-to-face assessments of a patient’s needs, a physician must certify their assessment. This legislation appropriately removes that burdensome requirement and ensures more timely access to home health services under Medicare.
While the date has not yet been set, ANA is working with House champions to introduce companion legislation. Last Congress, this legislation garnered 52 cosponsors in the Senate and 206 in the House. We will continue to advocate for passage of this important legislation and urge you to help advance this bill by contacting your Members of Congress.
This week, Members of Congress across the country held town halls during this week’s district work period. These town halls largely focused on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the future of healthcare. Congressional Republicans, who hope to have the ACA repealed later this spring, faced throngs of constituents concerned over the uncertain future of the law. One of the most pointed moments came on Tuesday, when Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) was confronted by a farmer in his state who protested that he wouldn’t be able to afford health insurance if it weren’t for the law’s healthcare subsidies. Other constituents pleaded with the Senator, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, to simply reform the law rather than repealing it. Polls have recently shown the law’s growing popularity.
On Thursday, former Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) predicted that Congressional Republicans would not fully repeal and replace the ACA. Boehner insisted that changes would be made to the law, but that the structure would largely stay the same. He alleged that in his 25 years in Congress, “Republicans never, ever, one time agreed on what a health care proposal should look like.”
Congress is back in session next week. On Wednesday, the House Education and Workforce Committee are having a hearing on “Legislative Proposals to Improve Health Care Coverage and Provide Lower Costs for Families,” and on Thursday the House Committee on Energy and Commerce will have a hearing “Examining FDA’s Generic Drug and Biosimilar User Fee Programs.”
ACA Replacement Leak:
On Friday, a leaked draft bill from the House Energy & Commerce committee on an ACA replacement bill was making the rounds in Washington. The bill, dated February 10th, would phase out federal funds by 2020 for those states that expanded Medicaid. The draft also eliminates federal subsidies for individuals to obtain coverage, while adding a tax credit that would increase based on an individual’s age. The tax credit, which has been a longstanding Republican healthcare idea, would do away with income-based thresholds and would range between $2,000 and $4,000. The draft legislation is expected to go through several iterations before it’s sent to markup in mid-March. ANA’s Government Affairs and Health Policy teams will continue monitoring healthcare legislation; stay tuned for updates on Capitol Beat.