By Chris Pirschel, Staff Writer, and Alec Stone, ONS Public Affairs Director
Time for Medicare for All
With more than 70% of Americans supporting expanded Medicare, the single-payer Medicare for All rallying cry has gained significant support among progressives and moderates alike. A recent editorial report makes the case for its adoption with strong evidence from an economic point of view. During the November 2018 midterm election campaign, many incumbent Republicans—some of whom previously voted to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act—now promised to uphold sections of the law, including protections for pre-existing conditions as their most important campaign commitment.
Although single-payer coverage comes with certain negative connotations and a number of unanswered questions, the idea of Medicare being extended to more people is an idea that Americans understand. More details will have to come to light to convince elected officials to stand behind Medicare for All. The idea is gaining traction with the American public, and a real shift could occur within the next two years.
Priorities for New Congress, the Future of the ACA and Medicaid Expansion
After the 2018 midterm elections, the government is split. That's what the election results showed Americans demanded. With important issues looming, like the cost and quality of health care, voters want bipartisan solutions to the nation’s problems. The idea is that neither party has the power to pull policy too far to either side of the spectrum. Americans love the middle of the road; it's the hallmark of democracy. A recent poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that most Americans want the Democratic majority in the House to work with Republicans to address the issues facing the public.
Between insistence on maintaining pre-existing conditions, expanding Medicaid, and demanding affordable prescription medication, it will be difficult for the Trump administration to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) without first presenting an equally acceptable bill. ONS is a voice for accessible and affordable health care, a message that resonates in the halls of Congress. Oncology nurses have the power to educate and inform their elected officials to enact change and improve care for their patients with cancer.
Grassley's Move to Finance Committee Could Bolster Drug Price Efforts
As the dust settles in the post-election shift, the final numbers are coming in for control of the Senate, House of Representatives, and their respective committees. The inside-the-beltway dynamics are shifting to focus on leadership. With issues like skyrocketing drug prices taking center stages, all eyes are on the Health Finance Committee and its leaders to make important moves to improve affordability for Americans.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) is making the shift from chairing the powerful and public judiciary committee to the Health Finance Committee. This move allows him to have a heavy hand in crafting many major legislative priorities. Health care is atop that list, and drug pricing is on the docket for discussion as well. It will be imperative that nurses stay vocal in the conversation and help educate the chairman by providing insight to the impact of high drug prices for patients with cancer.