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.

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“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.

Not A Drill… Health Care Reform Take III


*Update – American Health Care Act (AHCA) vote scheduled for tomorrow.*

The White House along with House Republican Leadership continue to swim upstream toward a vote on their health care reform plan. This morning two public no’s against the bill turned yes following a brief meeting with President Trump, setting off a new wave of speculation that a vote on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) could be imminent.

The amendment, fashioned by Congressmen Fred Upton (R-MI) and Billy Long (R-MO), seeks to include $8 billion in funding to offset the expected premium increases for those cast into high risk pools established by the AHCA.

Analysis by Families USA shows the amendment falls woefully short of protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions, leaving up to 96% of them in the individual and small group market without protection from insurer discrimination. According to the Centers for American Progress, the attempt by the House GOP to help people with pre-existing conditions afford coverage through risk pools falls $200 billion … yeah with a B.

Late efforts to alter the bill, ultimately, do little to change its fundamental flaws. Eliminating protections for those with pre-existing conditions is a non-starter for ANA. We remain opposed to the bill and urge you to contact your Members of Congress immediately.



New Study Highlights Positive Experiences of Medicaid Enrollees


A newly published Commonwealth Fund study sheds light on the health care experiences of Medicaid enrollees when compared with privately insured and uninsured individuals. Accessibility and quality outcomes for Medicaid enrollees have long been subjects of heated debate. Proponents of Medicaid expansion note that access to and use of health care services – particularly preventive care – through Medicaid reduces emergency department utilization and the cost to hospitals of uncompensated care. The Trump Administration recently reversed an Obama Administration policy of withholding federal funds to states to fill in financial holes for hospitals’ uncompensated care costs, which was meant to encourage states to expand Medicaid. This policy reversal comes in spite of evidence that Medicaid expansion has significantly reduced uncompensated care costs and improved hospitals’ financial stability. These arguments also ignore the fact that Medicaid provides access to comprehensive health care services for vulnerable populations including children, the elderly, and the disabled. Medicaid also provides critical services such as maternal care, mental health and substance use disorder services, and long-term services and supports like nursing home care.

The results of the Commonwealth study demonstrate the value of the Medicaid program from an access standpoint.  This study surveyed adults with Medicaid for the full year, adults with private insurance for the full year, and adults with no coverage either at the time of the survey or at some point in the past year. The study found that Medicaid enrollees generally have access to care at rates comparable to those experienced by the privately insured population. Medicaid enrollees reported better care experiences than those without insurance and similar experiences to those with private insurance. Medicaid enrollees also received preventive care at a rate similar to that of individuals with private insurance and at a much higher rate than those without insurance. Medicaid enrollees also had fewer issues paying medical bills and had fewer instances of cost-related access issues than both the privately insured and uninsured populations.

The results of this study demonstrate that Medicaid provides access to crucial health care coverage for low-income and vulnerable populations. This is yet another piece of evidence that Medicaid expansion has moved the U.S. health care system toward achieving the American Nurses’ Association’s principles for health care reform: universal access to a standard package of essential health benefits for all citizens and residents; utilization of primary, community-based and preventative services while supporting the cost-effective use of innovative, technology-driven, acute, hospital-based services; the economical use of health care services with support for those who do not have the means to share in costs; and a sufficient supply of a skilled workforce dedicated to providing high quality health care services.