“By passing the American Health Care Act today, the U.S. House of Representatives are threatening health care affordability, access and delivery for millions of Americans.
As members of the advanced practice nursing community, the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists is deeply troubled that the new legislation would allow insurance companies to charge more to those with preexisting conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes or previous injuries, like back or other joint surgery. Also concerning is that the bill would give states the ability to opt out of covering essential health benefits, such as emergency services, maternity and newborn care, mental health and substance use disorders services, prescription drugs, and wellness services and chronic disease management.
Giving states the ability to choose a “per-capita cap” or block grants, changing Medicaid in the most dramatic way since it was created, could drastically reduce health coverage for low-income Americans and long-term care for people with disabilities and seniors.
In addition, eliminating the Prevention and Public Health Fund, repealing income based subsidies and restricting millions of women’s access to critical health services will not improve care for our nation. The combination of these changes may critically reduce the number of Americans that are able to work and contribute to the nation’s income tax base.
Every day across this country, clinical nurse specialists are leaders of change in health organizations. They provide direct patient care, develop scientific evidence-based programs to prevent avoidable complications, coach those with chronic diseases to prevent hospital readmissions and facilitate interprofessional teams that improve care quality and safety.
NACNS believes that all individuals should have equitable access to comprehensive health care services, including preventive and acute care and management of chronic conditions. The American Health Care Act erects barriers for millions of individuals needing quality health care. To ensure a healthy nation, it is also critical that individuals are able to access care for mental health and substance use disorders.
We urge the Senate to reject this bill and craft legislation that addresses the most pressing issues facing quality patient care today.”
Vince Holly, MSN, RN, CCRN, CCNS is the President of the 2017-2018 NACNS Board of Directors.