A Profoundly Disappointing Vote


The American Nurses Association is strongly opposed to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and is very disappointed with the passage of this legislation by the House of Representatives.

Representing the interests of more than 3.6 million registered nurses, the ANA has expressed serious concerns throughout the negotiation process about the negative impact the AHCA will have on the 24 million people who stand to lose insurance coverage if it becomes law, as well as the lack of transparency that has surrounded the bill.

Getty Images
Getty Images

“Over the past several weeks, nurses from across the country expressed their strong disapproval for this bill, which would have a great impact on the health of the nation,” said ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Today, Congress not only ignored the voice of the nation’s most honest and ethical profession and largest group of health care professionals. It also ignored the almost 15 million people in the United States with pre-existing conditions who will now have no protection from insurer discrimination.”

As currently written, the AHCA would cut Medicaid funding by $880 billion over 10 years, dramatically increase premiums for senior citizens, restrict millions of women from access to health care, weaken the sustainability of Medicare, and repeal income-based subsidies that have made it possible for millions of families to buy health insurance.

In addition, states would have the option to waive essential health benefit protections that prevent insurance companies from charging Americans with pre-existing conditions significantly more for coverage. Even worse, insurers could decline coverage for substance abuse treatment, maternity care, and preventive services. Last minute attempts to stabilize the bill’s risk pools for the more than 15 million Americans with pre-existing conditions were wholly inadequate and will leave our nation’s sickest vulnerable.

As this legislation moves to the U.S. Senate, the ANA urges Senators to allow for thoughtful, public feedback in the face of reforms that would have such a far-reaching and personal impact across the nation.

“ANA asks the Senate to not deny peoples’ right to health care and quality of life by standing with the American people in opposing AHCA in its current form. ANA will continue to work with the Senate to help improve health care delivery, coverage, and affordability for all Americans,” Cipriano added.

To find out how your representative voted, click here.

The First 100 Days, AHCA Down But Not Out, Shutdown Averted


As President Trump reaches his hundredth day in office, his goal of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has stumbled once again, with Speaker Paul Ryan and House Republican leadership unable to find the necessary votes to pass the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and move debate to the Senate.

As we wrote yesterday, despite newfound support from the House Freedom Caucus, moderate House Republicans are still opposed to the AHCA, in part due to the inclusion of an amendment that would allow states to opt out of programs that provide Essential Health Benefits and maintain Community Rating Provisions. The ANA continues to oppose the AHCA due to serious concerns that the bill would violate key organizational principles and harm both nurses and patients alike.

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Resolved to continue
House and Senate leadership were able to temporarily avert a government shutdown, passing a one-week spending measure on Friday that maintains current spending levels and gives lawmakers additional time to negotiate a longer-term package that will fund the government through September 30th. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi had previously stated that her caucus would not vote for such an agreement if Speaker Ryan and the White House held a vote on the AHCA this week.

100 Days In
While the President has signed a number of executive orders and legislation in his first 100 days that repeal actions taken toward the end of President Obama’s second term, the White House has been consistently stymied by a Congress that seems unwilling to embrace its broader legislative agenda, despite Republican control of both chambers.

The President’s biggest victory is arguably the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was approved by the Senate earlier this month to fill the seat that was vacated following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. Despite a limited number of achievements, polling consistently shows that the President’s conservative supporters continue to approve of his job performance and are optimistic he’ll be able to fulfill his campaign promises.

The House is Doing What re: ACA?! … When?!


House Republicans stashed a confidential draft health reform bill behind closed doors late last week. The secret legislation was made available solely to House Majority Members in a ‘viewing room’ in the Capitol, where no copies were allowed out.

Health care reform is too important to do behind closed doors. ANA is calling on Congress to commit to a thoughtful, public process for any proposed changes to the current health care law. Anything short is unacceptable.

What’s Next: ANA picked up intel over the weekend that the legislation will, finally, be made public tonight and tomorrow morning. House Democrats as well as the general public will have just 36 hours to review the far-reaching legislation before both the House Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce Committees begin considering the bill.

A reform effort of this magnitude traditionally demand public hearings, including testimony from patients, providers, and health systems, as well as from the typical cast of non-partisan entities like the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) or the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

ANA is strongly urging Congress to carefully consider any legislative proposal that would fundamentally alter healthcare delivery for providers, as well as patients. Stay tuned for a grassroots alert from RnAction that will help you quickly tell your Members of Congress that their lack of transparency is unacceptable.