America's nurses have long supported the restructuring of our Nation's health care system with the goal of assuring access, quality, and affordable cost. The components of a basic "core of services" to be made available to all include:
* Consumer access to care through primary health services delivered in community-based settings.
* Consumer responsibility for the personal health, self care, and informed decision-making in selecting health care services.
* Utilization of the most cost-effective providers and therapeutic options in appropriate settings.
A federally defined standard package of essential health services for all citizens and residents is called for, provided and financed through an integration of public and private plans and sources and including:
*A public plan based on federal guidelines and eligibility requirements providing coverage for the poor.
* The opportunity for small businesses and individuals, particularly those at risk because of preexisting conditions, and those potentially medically indigent, to buy into the plan.
* A private plan offering, at a minimum, the nationally standardized package of essential services.
This package can be enhanced as a …