By Chris Pirschel, Staff Writer, and Alec Stone, ONS Director of Health Policy

Republicans May Aim to Repeal ACA Without a Replacement Plan

After failing to garner support for the GOP’s healthcare bill in the Senate—known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017—Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) noted that the next strategy for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would be to repeal the legislation without any concrete healthcare bill to replace it. In 2015, the Senate already successful voted to repeal the ACA, but it was vetoed by former President Obama. According to McConnell, the 2017 repeal effort would provide a two-year window to ensure a stable transition.

Procedurally, it could be a difficult move for Senate Republicans, because they would still need to garner a minimum of 51 votes. Beyond that, the future replacement legislation would be categorized as an entirely different bill and would require 60 votes to pass. For this to happen, Democrats would have to support the new replacement legislation. In today’s hotly contested political environment, that may prove difficult in a short two-year window. If replacement legislation isn’t secured, the Congressional Budget Office reported that 18 million Americans could lose coverage by 2020, 27 million would lose coverage from the elimination of expanded Medicare access, and as many as 32 million could be without coverage by 2026. ONS continues to work with legislators and policy makers to ensure Americans have access to affordable, quality cancer care.

Majority of Americans Support Government Health Care

According to a recent Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll, nearly 62% of respondents said that the federal government is responsible to ensure Americans have access to healthcare coverage. These numbers support the growing notion of a federally supported single-payer healthcare system, similar to systems in place in Canada and in several European nations.

Despite the single-payer healthcare solution being the mantra of several Democrats, any legislation is unlikely to be supported in today’s contentious political environment. However, the poll revealed that most Americans are in support of the government having a direct hand in ensuring healthcare coverage for Americans. Look for it to impact the conversation moving forward, especially as the 2018 midterm elections approach.

Q&A With New Jersey State Nurses Association CEO

In a recent “Ask a CEO” article from ASAE, New Jersey State Nurses Association (NJSNA) member Benjamin Evans interviewed Judy Schmidt, president and CEO of NJSNA. Schmidt revealed the biggest challenge for nursing in the next five years is “the uncertainty of the healthcare environment and the direction of care,” noting that NJSNA will advocate for a healthcare system that supports the best model of care. It’s working on a state level to enact change and drive quality cancer care forward.

This interview is just another instance of nursing advocacy working in the political forum. Much like ONS and its many coalitions, NJSNA is ready to work with legislators and decision makers in New Jersey and Washington, DC, on the healthcare debate. Oncology nurses can be powerful advocates at the state and local level, and working with organizations in your area can help deliver the invaluable voice of the oncology nurse to the lawmakers who need it most.

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