AMA Medicare Expansion; Vaping Respiratory Disease; Nursing Shortage
AMA Drops Coalition Opposed to Medicare Expansion
With the 2020 election cycle kicking into high gear, upcoming presidential debates will continue to highlight health care as a major domestic issue (https://voice.ons.org/advocacy/candidates-position-will-matter-to-voters-especially-health-care). Downstream contests for House and Senate seats are also in play, and health care will serve a huge role in those campaigns, too. Candidates are offering a slew of different options like a new single-payer system, Medicare expansion, Medicare for All (https://voice.ons.org/advocacy/durbin-calls-out-fda-medicare-for-all-support-cancer-mortality-drops), Medicare for All with an additional buy-in program, and many other iterations.
In the past, the American Medical Association (AMA) took a strong stance against Medicare expansion (https://www.modernhealthcare.com/physicians/ama-maintains-its-opposition-single-payer-systems) and proposals like Medicare for All. But on August 15, AMA made a very public statement (https://www.politico.com/story/2019/08/15/ama-drops-out-of-industry-coalition-opposed-to-medicare-expansion-1664604) by withdrawing from a coalition that was seeking a more incremental approach to healthcare reform. Whether the association’s change reflects a generational shift or if AMA was put off by the coalition’s aggressive opposition to popular healthcare proposals is still unknown, but it makes a difference among elected officials who look to associations—like AMA, ONS, and others—for expert opinion and analysis of complex healthcare issues. Weigh in on the issues important to your practice and join the ONS advocacy efforts (https://voice.ons.org/advocacy/get-involved).
CDC, FDA, States Investigate Respiratory Disease in E-Cigarettes Users
Many federal agencies are coming together on the vaping issue, despite approaching it from different angles. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—with its charge for public health—is making its way into the smoking cessation public awareness debate (https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2019/s0821-cdc-fda-states-e-cigarettes.html) by examining reported illnesses that accompany vaping use. The National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have led efforts to limit and control electronic cigarettes (https://voice.ons.org/advocacy/fda-takes-more-steps-toward-regulating-e-cigarettes), but CDC is seeking to understand what—if any—potential links exists to reports around the country of respiratory illnesses related to vaping (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/21/health/vaping-marijuana-e-cigarettes.html).
With more reports, stronger statistics, and national facts on electronic cigarette use, fewer state and national leaders are eager to defend an industry that builds its profits on potential addiction and disease. Earn free CNE by learning about the effects of the youth vaping epidemic on the Oncology Nursing Podcast (https://www.ons.org/podcasts/episode-55-youth-vaping-epidemic).
How Bad Is the Nursing Shortage?
Nurses have a front row seat to the negative effects of the nursing shortage. With cuts to education, faculty resources, and research, along with ongoing difficulties in the workforce, the nursing field is seeing shortages that hurt the profession and the patient. Although a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (https://www.modernhealthcare.com/labor/how-bad-nursing-shortage) shows growth in the field, not all job markets are created equal. Some areas are having better luck than others, but the dearth of new nurses is quite real in many parts of the country.
State legislators must make more proactive moves to ensure patient-centered care continues at the hands of qualified nurses. It’s a key priority for ONS (https://www.ons.org/make-difference/advocacy-and-policy/position-statements/impact-nursing-workforce-issues-quality), and it’s one with which ONS advocate are acutely familiar. Share your experiences with lawmakers (https://voice.ons.org/stories/oncology-nurses-must-share-experiences-perspectives-to-advocate-for-change) and support your profession.