When #NursesVote, Policy Changes

  

In recognition of National Voter Registration Day this week and ahead of next year’s presidential election, the American Nurses Association (ANA) launched its new and improved #NursesVote website this week. This new resource for ANA members and nurse-advocates everywhere builds on our work last fall, when thousands of nurses engaged with ANA’s #NursesVote Action Center to ensure they had all the information they needed to cast their vote and make their voices heard.

Looking ahead to 2020, the new #NursesVote expands on those efforts with a heightened focus on the presidential race. Our interactive registration tool continues to help voters in every state confirm that they’re registered to vote (or get registered if they aren’t), locate their polling place, or find out what’s needed to vote absentee or early. For nurses in particular, we know their schedules might not provide the opportunity to cast their ballots on Election Day itself.

Additionally, #NursesVote is your go-to resource for information on the candidates as their campaigns progress, ANA’s nursing priorities, and how best to engage with and support the candidate of your choice. ANA encourages all nurse advocates to become well informed voters and help ensure every presidential candidate considers advancing the nursing profession to be one of their core priorities.  

Our candidates page provides a breakdown on the ways in which each candidate has supported key federal legislation and policies on issues that include nursing education and workforce development, home health care and APRNs, how to ensure nurses are equipped to help fight the opioid epidemic, and more. ANA is heartened to know it will have a partner to work with in the White House regardless of the election’s outcome.

Also included are sections that detail the most pressing federal advocacy priorities impacting nursing, as well as a newly released comprehensive guide for those looking to engage with the various presidential campaigns – either as a volunteer or simply as a concerned citizen and nurse-advocate. From running a voter registration drive to making the most of an upcoming campaign visit in your area, #NursesVote will help you hold candidates accountable and ensure other voters understand why nursing issues are an essential part of the discussions taking place between candidates and the constituents they hope to represent.  

ANA empowers nurses across the country to become politically engaged advocates and looks forward to hearing how the new website helps further this mission.

Looking forward to this year’s #ANAHillDay

  

In just under three weeks ANA members and registered nurses from across the country will gather on Capitol Hill to demonstrate the power of nurse advocacy firsthand. As we prepare for our annual #ANAHillDay on June 20th, we wanted to offer some helpful tips and reminders for those attending and encourage those who might still be on the fence to register before it’s too late. With momentum building around a number of bills in Congress that will help advance the nursing profession, now is the perfect time to join us for our biggest advocacy event of the year.

Prior to arriving in Washington for the big day, please take some time to get to know the lawmakers with whom you’ll be meeting (your federal representative and both Senators). In particular, determine whether they’re already supportive of the legislation we’ll be discussing in our in-person meetings. That includes:

  • Workplace violence legislation in the House and Senate;
  • Title VIII nursing workforce development reauthorization in the House and Senate, and;
  • Home health legislation for APRNs in the House and Senate.

For additional background on these bills, please visit our RNAction issues page. If you’re unsure who represents you in the House, please find out here. Rest assured, we’ll be going into greater detail on all these bills at our morning breakfast briefing before you head up to Capitol Hill for your meetings. We’ll also be hearing from ANA leadership as well as the newest nurse in Congress, Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14).

Once you’re on the Hill, you and members of your state delegation with whom you’ll be paired will have the unique opportunity to share your professional perspective on why each of these bills matters to you. While it’s important to know what these bills are working to accomplish and how they would do so, it’s just as important for your representatives and their staff to hear your firsthand account on how you’ve encountered these issues in your job. Representatives and staff will always respond better when you are able to make a personal attachment to the issue at hand. Please spend some time thinking about if and how these issues have impacted your work, and decide which ones you feel most confident speaking to during your meetings.

And if you can’t join us here in our nation’s capital, rest assured you’ll still have plenty of opportunities to join through our virtual Hill Day campaign. To ensure you’re getting these and other timely nurse advocate updates, please sign up for our RNAction updates.

To watch our Facebook briefing with additional information on everything Hill Day-related, please click here. And if you’re interested in attending but still haven’t registered, please do so here

A new Congress hears a delayed State of the Union

  

After a postponement following the partial government shutdown, President Trump’s State of the Union address to the newly elected 116th Congress included outlining his vision to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic by the end of the next decade and pledging $500 million over 10 years to fight childhood cancer, the leading disease-related cause of death in American children.

The President also touted recent declines in prescription drug prices and promised additional reductions, while maintaining that he supported coverage for pre-existing conditions. It is politically feasible that the Democratic-controlled House and Republican-controlled Senate could find common ground with the President on both the HIV/AIDS and childhood cancer efforts.

Lowering prescription drug prices is something both President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi listed as a priority when they gave their respective news conferences post-Election Day. However, lawmakers from both parties have spent years trying to address this issue, with limited success. It remains to be seen whether the Democratic House and Republican Senate can come together in collaboration with the White House to craft an effective piece of legislation in the face of what is likely to be intense lobbying from pharmaceutical companies and other health industry stakeholders.

In the official Democratic response former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and state representative Stacey Abrams called on leaders in Washington to tackle the ongoing issue of gun violence prevention and criticized Republican Attorneys General who have joined a Texas court case that would invalidate the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA). She urged elected officials to back efforts that would expand access and lower the cost of health care. Abrams also joined the President in pointing out that prescription drugs are too expensive for too many families, and that policy solutions are badly needed to address this.

While health care is unlikely to dominate the start of this Congress to the extent that it dominated the start of the previous Congress, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle still believe that voters sent them to Washington to take tangible steps toward improving the American health care system. Despite the challenges of divided government, the prominence of health policy in the SOTU and the Democratic rebuttal emphatically shows that your vote truly matters when it comes to policy decisions regarding the nation’s health care system.