By Shawn Kennedy, AJN editorial director/interim editor-in-chief
Sometime in the next few days, Congress may bring the health care reform issue to a final vote and even a resolution of sorts, though one never knows what new twists may occur before then. I can’t even imagine what will occupy the news if it really does pass. (Philandering professional athletes and pilfering politicians better beware as newspapers seek new headlines.)
Many Americans are calling their legislators to tell them what they want and don’t want. At the same time, many remain confused by the complexity of the legislative process as well as the particulars of the legislation. The final push received a boost this week from projections by the Congressional Budget Office that the bill would cut the budget deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next two decades.
As nurses, we need to be knowledgeable and concerned with how health care will shape up—we’ll be delivering it. For information on the current bills under consideration, here’s two accessible sources: the Washington Post has a comparison of what the already passed Senate bill and the reconciliation version under consideration by the House include; the New York Times provides a pdf of the House bill.
Here’s a short list of provisions related to nursing likely to be in a final bill (as we noted in a post back in December about a useful ANA chart comparing House and Senate bills at the time):
- increased financial support for nursing recruitment and advanced education
- increased funding for graduate education for nursing faculty
- increased funding for education for students who will practice in underserved areas
- establishment of a Public Health Workforce Corps
- increased Medicare reimbursement rates for advanced practice nurses, including nurse–midwives
- pilot programs to provide reimbursement under Medicare for nurse practitioners to create or lead “medical homes”
- increased reimbursement to school-based health clinics under Medicaid