Press Room

Nursing Leader Calls for Health Care Reform that Prioritizes Patients, Not Reduces Coverage

“While less rigid than the American Health Care Act passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last month, the Senate’s discussion draft of the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA) still puts many Americans at-risk of having no health insurance and threatens health care affordability, access and delivery for millions of Americans.

The discussion draft of the bill is incredibly concerning to those of us working on the front lines of health care with patients, families and health systems every day. As members of the advanced practice nursing community, the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists is deeply troubled that the new legislation would exclude clinical nurse specialists from home health care services because only nurse practitioners are cited, rather than including all eligible providers by using the term advanced practice registered nurses.

This bill will roll back Medicaid expansion, drastically reducing health coverage for low-income Americans and long-term care for people with disabilities and seniors. It will restructure Medicaid funding formulas and shift costs to already overburdened state budgets.

The Senate’s draft bill will also water down protections to ensure those with pre-existing conditions aren’t discriminated against and undermine coverage of essential health benefits by allowing states to opt out of covering them.

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, and access care for mental health and substance use disorders.

We need health care reform that prioritizes the patient and addresses the most pressing issues facing quality care today, not legislation that would reduce coverage for patients and families. We urge Senators from both parties to reject this bill and find solutions that will not strip millions of Americans of their health coverage.”

Vince Holly, MSN, RN, CCRN, CCNS is the President of the 2017-2018 NACNS Board of Directors.

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