12 Days in September

  
Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

President Trump joined with congressional Democrats yesterday to clear three major items from a jam-packed congressional agenda. The stopgap agreement will raise the nation’s debt limit, keep the government open through the end of the calendar year, and provide hurricane relief for the communities and states hardest hit this hurricane season. In doing so, however, Trump and congressional leaders have ensured that an even bigger debate awaits them in December, with an unclear outlook on how it will resolve itself.

The House also passed nearly $8 billion in disaster aid in response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey. But with Hurricane Irma bearing down on Puerto Rico and Florida, lawmakers may be called on to pass additional funding soon.

Meanwhile, lawmakers still face an overflowing agenda. Here’s a quick rundown of what else to expect this September:

  • Tax reform: The President and his administration have long signaled that they hope to pass tax reform legislation before the end of the calendar year. Their failure to pass health care reform legislation this summer, however, coupled with a long list of competing priorities, makes this increasingly unlikely.
  • Health care reform: Though congressional leaders have appeared to move on to other, more pressing issues, President Trump continues to indicate he wants lawmakers to take one more shot at repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.
  • Immigration: Following the President’s decision to rescind the policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in the event that Congress fails to craft a solution in the next six months, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are searching for a legislative fix. Democratic leaders have asked Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to bring the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act to the floor for a vote, and have suggested they will attempt to attach the bill to other priority items to force leadership’s hand. Though widely championed by progressives, the legislation could face difficulty garnering bipartisan support.

Meanwhile, the Senate HELP committee will be holding a series of hearings to determine the best path forward on creating stability in the individual health insurance markets. Democrats are certain to use this forum to put a spotlight on the administration’s recent decision to slash funding used to promote the Open Enrollment period that starts November 1st. We’ll have an additional update for you later this week on these and other health care-related items.

Congress just proved why we need you in Washington

  

Following yesterday’s AHCA vote, ANA board member Jesse Kennedy joins us as a guest blogger to explain why it’s more important than ever to take part in this year’s Hill Day. Please click here to learn more and share with others who might be interested.

Shameful. By a thin margin, the House of Representatives just voted today to pass the American Health Care Act.

Despite an avalanche of warnings, the House just moved to undo years of hard work by nurses like you to provide a better health care system for our patients.

No matter how leaders try to spin today’s vote, its effects are clear, and dangerous: Ending protections for those with pre-existing conditions. Eliminating essential health benefits. Kicking 24 million people off of their coverage.

The nursing community will not allow out-of-touch politicians to threaten the lives of our patients. ANA advocates are heading to Capitol Hill on Thursday, June 8 – one month from now – to meet face-to-face with members of Congress and their staffers – can you join us?

Register for ANA’s Hill Day in D.C. on June 8 so we can make sure to save you a spot.

Not sure if you can join? Click here and we’ll send you a reminder before the final deadline.

I don’t know who exactly was in the room when leaders in the House of Representatives decided to ram their devastating repeal bill forward, but I can tell you who wasn’t in the room: Health care professionals like you and me.

I know this because no one who has direct experience with health care in America would ever support the repeal bill that the House just passed. It would put our patients in danger and interfere with our ability to deliver quality care.

Fortunately, we have an opportunity to make our voices heard in the halls of Congress – and use our power and our passion to stop disastrous measures like this from ever becoming the law of the land.

I hope you’ll be able to join me on June 8 to raise your voice. Register now for ANA Hill Day 2017.

This fight does not end here. Thank you for continuing to speak out and advocate for all of our patients.

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.