By Chris Pirschel, Staff Writer, and Alec Stone, ONS Director of Health Policy
GOP Unable to Secure Support for AHCA
After the GOP spent weeks lobbying for support, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) informed President Trump on March 24 that the replacement healthcare proposal, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), did not have enough support in the House of Representatives. The bill was pulled from voting, which ensured that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be in place for the foreseeable future. The Republican party failed to garner enough support for the bill, with some moderates fearing it would strand many without access to health care, whereas more conservative factions believed the AHCA didn’t dismantle enough portions of the ACA.
With 215 votes needed to repeal the ACA and replace it with the AHCA, liberals and conservatives were jockeying for position. After Republican representatives weighed the pros and cons of the proposed replacement plan, 36 GOP legislators announced they wouldn’t vote for the bill. ONS will continue to monitor the national issues related to health care and work with policymakers to ensure that oncology nurses and their patients are supported.
Senators Introduce Women’s Health Bill to Prevent, Screen Cancer
In an effort to address disparities in health care for women, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Tamm Baldwin (D-WI) introduced the Invest in Women’s Health Act of 2017. This bill would increase the access to and availability of preventive services and cancer screening for women in the United States. The Senators recognize that certain cancer deaths are disproportionately high among patients without access to proper preventative and screening care, typically women of color or those with low incomes.
Part of the new legislation emphasizes cancer screenings to improve women’s health. That inclusion may seem simple enough, even obvious to healthcare professionals, but it really takes champions in elected office to make a point of putting exact language into law. ONS will continue to support these efforts, testifying on the benefits of early detection and screenings.
Americans Worried About Insurance Access, Coverage
In a story for the Washington Post, one physician recounted an encounter with one of his patients. Rather than scheduling a visit for any particular health reason, his patient made an appointment to discuss concerns about losing his health insurance. With all the news about repealing the Affordable Care Act, more and more Americans are left uncertain as to where they stand in the healthcare system. This is just one story that’s indicative of a larger theme. The story covers how the physician reacts to his nervous patient and how he tries to explain the process.
Another story for the Washington Post discussed the basic tenets of insurance and how chronic illness are paid for. It’s part of an honest discussion about the philosophical range of where the United States stands on the idea of the right to health insurance. The United States is the only industrialized country in the world that does not provide health insurance of some kind to all of its citizens. One of this year’s healthcare debates—after the country insured 30 million more Americans since 2010—is beginning to center on what people are entitled to as a basic right. It’s an important conversation to have. Democracy thrives through discussion, and we’ll be surprised with where many Americans stand on this issue. ONS continues to support legislation that promotes access, quality, and affordability of care.