Trump's Pre-Existing Condition Record; Geography Affects Insurance Status; State Vaping Regulations
Trump Defends Pre-Existing Conditions Record
The pre-existing condition coverage (https://voice.ons.org/advocacy/shalalas-vaping-fight-pre-existing-conditions-trump-nominates-hahn)Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a bipartisan plank that connects every policy conversation about health care. Public opinion overwhelmingly supports maintaining clauses to protect coverage for those with pre-existing conditions—like cancer—through treatment and survivorship, particularly as people change jobs and insurance companies.
Although court battles continue concerning ACA’s constitutionality (https://voice.ons.org/advocacy/doj-says-aca-invalid-pre-existing-condition-protections-medicaid-work-requirements), protecting patients with previous and persistent conditions remains a top priority for all involved, including the Trump administration. The president recently defended his stance on pre-existing condition coverage (https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/478892-trump-scrambles-to-defend-pre-existing-conditions-record-amid-obamacare), and it’s likely to be an issue in every political candidate’s message going into the 2020 election cycle (https://www.ons.org/podcasts/episode-86-how-will-nurses-affect-health-policy-2020).
Background, Geography Affect Patient Insurance Status
Francis Collins, MD, director of the National Institutes of Health, penned a column (https://directorsblog.nih.gov/2020/01/21/insurance-status-helps-explain-racial-disparities-in-cancer-diagnosis/) about the impact of healthcare disparities (https://voice.ons.org/topic/cancer-health-disparities). He reasserted a widely repeated fact: a person’s zip code may often be the most accurate determinant for their health status. Socioeconomic status, geographic location, and racial background can influence the extent that a person can learn about, access, and afford (http://voice.ons.org/news-and-views/nurses-must-understand-health-disparities-to-provide-effective-patient-education) health care. Reported survival rates have improved (https://voice.ons.org/news-and-views/annual-cancer-report-increase-in-survival-rates), but much of that has to do with adequate access to affordable care.
Nurses see and understand the impact of disparities on care. As frontline professionals, they have more candid conversations with patients and caregivers than anyone else on the healthcare team. Collins’ article is just an example of the larger influence that access (https://www.ons.org/make-difference/ons-center-advocacy-and-health-policy/position-statements/access-quality-cancer?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Advocacy_Health_policy&utm_campaign=Articles_of_Interest) has on the quality and longevity of American health, and nurses are the best experts to speak on that matter (https://voice.ons.org/stories/advocate-in-your-own-backyard).
How Are States Instituting Vaping Regulations?
Vaping remains a major public health issue (https://voice.ons.org/advocacy/surgeon-general-declares-youth-vaping-an-epidemic) and a bipartisan topic that unites both parties in Congress (https://voice.ons.org/advocacy/legislation-raises-minimum-age-of-sale-for-tobacco-products-to-21). Smoking cessation efforts have moved quickly at the state legislative (https://voice.ons.org/advocacy/nurses-impact-health-policy-state-vaping-legislation-pelosis-drug-plan) level, and, although Congress raised the age of purchase for tobacco and vaping products to 21, it’s still grappling with several bills to do even more.
General assemblies and local municipal governments have also passed restrictive laws on vaping and electronic cigarettes (https://khn.org/news/listen-how-vaping-regulations-are-playing-out-in-the-states/) in an attempt to curb skyrocketing youth vaping rates (https://www.ons.org/podcasts/episode-55-youth-vaping-epidemic). Efforts to minimize youth consumption at a federal level are far less certain, as seen in a piece written by co-chair of the congressional caucus on youth vaping (https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/479591-heres-how-to-fight-the-skyrocketing-use-of-e-cigarettes-by-young). Oncology nurses are on the forefront of the smoking cessation and vaping issue, offering education to lawmakers and congressional offices (https://voice.ons.org/stories/providing-expert-testimony-in-the-virginia-state-senate). Consider sharing your experiences and joining ONS’s advocacy efforts to limit e-cigarettes and vaping (https://www.ons.org/make-difference/ons-center-advocacy-and-health-policy/position-statements/e-cigarettes-and-vaping).