Magazine article American Nurse Today

Advocating for Access to Safe, Quality Care

Magazine article American Nurse Today

Advocating for Access to Safe, Quality Care

Article excerpt

* Join ANA in the fight for our patients' lives.

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AS I WRITE THIS, the next steps in the GOP's crusade to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remain unclear. However, together with our nurse advocates around the nation we can cheer the successful efforts used to defeat faulty legislation that would have denied patients' access to affordable, quality health care. I thank you for your passion and great work.

Knowing the desire for change is strong, we must remain vigilant to address what lies ahead and encourage the improvements that will strengthen, not dismantle, the current system. And what I also know for certain is this: Most people enjoy greater peace of mind when they have insurance and access to health care for themselves and their families.

Recently, ANA began hearing from nurses about the ACA's impact on their patients, as well as concerns that its replacement might undermine important progress. More than 500 nurses relayed patients' fears of losing preventive care, being denied insurance coverage because of preexisting conditions, and the inability to pay for any coverage at all.

Patients worry about losing insurance, including Medicaid, and fear becoming bankrupt because of high medical bills; relying on the emergency department for care; and potentially dying if they can't access health services. One woman described to CNN her concern about losing coverage for life-sustaining medications and follow-up care after a kidney transplant. Many of these comments probably echo the concerns of you and your patients.

ANA works nonstop to develop resources to keep nurses up-to-date on proposed healthcare reforms and other actions, including the latest budgetary challenges to nursing workforce development, research, and public health. The healthcare reform page on ANA's website details our ongoing work on behalf of nurses and consumers, and offers opportunities for you to engage in advocacy on a larger scale (www.nursingworld.org/healthsystemreform). Thousands of you already have reached out to U.S. senators and representatives to amplify our messages, which no doubt contributed to the initial downfall of the flawed American Health Care Act. …

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