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Volume 6/Issue No. 9 December 19, 2008
 
 


Gearing Up for the Health Care Reform Debate
 
The 111th Congress will convene on January 6, 2009, and President Elect Barack Obama will take the oath of office on January 20th. With health care reform high on the agenda for the new Congress and Administration, the upcoming year promises a lot of excitement, opportunity, and hard work.

Discussions and planning for the new year have already begun. The ANA has been meeting with members of Congress, as well as representatives of the Obama transition team to discuss core priorities and ensure that the voice of nursing is included as the health care reform dialogue continues to unfold.

In the Senate, Senators Baucus (D-MT) and Kennedy (D-MA) are both actively working on health care reform legislation, and on November 12, Sen. Baucus released a "Call to Action" document that outlines his vision. In follow up to the document's release, the Senate Finance committee, which Sen Baucus chairs, held a hearing, on November 19 titled,"Health Care Reform: An Economic Perspective,". ANA submitted written testimony for the hearing emphasizing that we must provide, not just access to coverage, but access to care through the assurance of available, qualified practitioners to provide needed services. Absent these qualified practitioners, our reform efforts will fall short and further strain our current health care infrastructure.

President-Elect Obama is also laying the groundwork for his health care reform plan by utilizing the same ground up grassroots strategy he used throughout his campaign by meeting with stakeholders and engaging both organizations and individual citizens for input. The Obama-Biden Health Care Agenda , along with a wealth of other information on the incoming administration, is available on the Presidential Transition Website, http://www.change.gov/.

The office of the President-Elect is running the most open and transparent transition in history, with all meetings and resulting documents published online in the "Seat at the Table" section of the site. The site also provides a wonderful opportunity for individuals to become involved by encouraging hosting of a variety of forums across the country. Nursing needs to seize this opportunity to show its strength and leadership in the health care arena by becoming engaged in this work.

ANA will continue to work to ensure that the tenets of our Health System Reform Agenda are reflected in the ongoing discussions and plans for reform and we are counting on you to help. Share your experience as a nurse and your hopes for the new Administration with transition team, or consider signing up to lead a health care discussion over the holidays through Change.gov.

Finally get ready to partner with us in the important work ahead by making sure that you are signed up to receive ANA's N-STAT legislative alerts.

We are looking forward to working with nurses across the country to capitalize on this rare opportunity to advance meaningful access to quality Health Care for all.
Michelle Artz
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