News   Advocacy & Policy

Legislative Session Week 9

Wsna In Olympia Banner

In this week’s update:

  • WSNA’s Priority Bills – House of Origin Cutoff
  • Please Attend Your Legislators’ Town Halls
  • ACA Replacement – Affordable Health Care Act

WSNA’s 2017 Legislative Priorities and issue-based one-pagers can be found here.

WSNA’s Priority Bills – House of Origin Cutoff

Many of WSNA’s priority bills are still moving thru the process, following this week’s House of Origin cutoff. Brief updates on some of our priority issues are included below.

Nurse Staffing & Rest Breaks – This week the House passed both the staffing (HB 1714) and the rest breaks (HB 1715) bills. In its current form, HB 1714 is a stepping stone that provides increased hospital nurse staffing transparency, documentation of staffing deviations from the adopted staffing plan, as well as accountability measures and penalties. These bills now move to the Senate.

School Nurse Supervision – On Monday, the Senate bill (SB 5325) passed with unanimous support. Now each bill moves to the opposite chamber. The House bill will be heard in the Senate Education Committee next week; WSNA and SNOW (School Nurse Organization of Washington) will testify in support of the bill.

Secure Medicine Return – The Secure Medicine Return bill (HB 1047) was not brought to the House floor for a vote, so the bill is dead for this session. WSNA greatly appreciates Rep. Strom Peterson’s leadership on this issue, and we look forward to engaging with coalition partners on this issue during the interim.

Please Attend Your Legislators’ Town Halls

Are you representing nurses and patients at the Town Hall in your legislative district?!

Please do! Nurses are the number one trusted profession, and your voice carries significant weight with your legislators and your community members.

Plan on attending your state legislators’ Town Hall Meeting or Tele Town Hall (conference call). Attending a Town Hall Meeting is a great way to remind your legislators about the issues you care about.

A list of legislator Town Hall Meetings is available on WSNA’s website. Some legislators have not yet scheduled their Town Halls, so if you don’t see your district listed, be sure to check back in about a week!

ACA Replacement – American Health Care Act

This week, House Republicans unveiled their proposed bill, the American Health Care Act, to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

The bill keeps some of the most popular provisions of the ACA, such as allowing young adults to stay on their parents insurance until age 26 and protections for people with pre-existing conditions. But it repeals the individual mandate, restructures Medicaid, and restricts women’s access to health care – raising concerns about the potential for millions of Americans to lose health insurance and access to care.

The American Nurses Association (ANA) wrote:

The American Health Care Act threatens health care affordability, access, and delivery for individuals across the nation.

In its current form, the bill changes Medicaid to a per capita cap funding model, eliminates the Prevention and Public Health Fund, restricts millions of women from access to critical health services, and repeals income based subsidies that millions of people rely on. These changes in no way will improve care for the American people.

ANA also remains troubled by the absence of testimony from non-partisan experts, such as the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) or the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Input from these and other non-partisan experts would shed light on the potential long-term economic and health consequences of the legislation. Any legislation that would fundamentally alter health-care delivery and deeply impact patients and providers deserves thoughtful, deliberate and transparent consideration.

Read ANA’s full letter here.

National health and provider groups were quick to oppose the new plan, including:
American Academy of Family Physicians
American College of Physicians
American Congress of OBGYNs
American Federation of Teachers
American Health Care Association
American Hospital Association
American Medical Association
American Nurses Association
American Osteopathic Association
American Public Health Association
America’s Essential Hospitals
Association of American Physicians & Surgeons
Catholic Health Association of the United States
Children’s Hospital Association
Doctor’s for America
Federation of American Hospitals
Medicare Rights Center
National Disability Rights Network
National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems
National Medical Association
National Nurses United
National Physicians Alliance
Network for Patient Advocacy
And many more…

WSNA will be adding more information to our website in the near future on movement to repeal and replace the ACA. In the meantime, ask Congress to hold hearings on the American Health Care Act by taking action thru the American Nurses Association.