On MNA Nurses Night, AAMC Nurses lobby for maintaining affordable health care
Above, a photo of AAMC nurses at the 2017 MNA Nurses Night in Annapolis with Senator John Astle (center).
As professional nurses, our voices are powerful. On Monday, February 20, 2017, nurses from all over Maryland, including many of our own, attended Nurses Night in Annapolis to lobby for continued access to health care via the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In Maryland, a joint House and Senate bill has been put forth for this purpose. Prior to scheduled meetings with our individual delegates, the Maryland Nurses Association (MNA) briefed us on the specific issues at risk in maintaining affordable health care. Our key talking points with our delegates were:
- -Almost 150,000 people receive coverage through the Maryland Benefit Exchange. About 100,000 receive tax credits to make coverage affordable.
- -Almost 300,000 more people are covered under the expanded Medicaid program.
- -41,000 young adults (up to age 25) risk losing their health coverage through their parents.
- -Maryland’s uninsured rate has dropped from 11.3% to 6.6% from 2010-2015, because of the ACA and Maryland’s commitment to fully implementing the ACA.
- -Over $2 billion in federal dollars in the Medicaid program is at risk.
Our representatives were very welcoming and pleased to meet with us. Everybody came back from their meetings energized from the experience of taking part in the political process. It was refreshing to express the voice of nursing to willing listeners who will play a key role in deciding the future of health care in this country.
One delegate, Geraldine Valentino-Smith, Maryland House of Delegates, District 23A, states in a recent email to her constituents:
- -In three years, we have saved $311 million dollars in uncompensated care costs at hospitals due to the decrease in the uninsured.
- -From 2013 to 2105, thanks to the expansion of Medicaid the number of those in opioid treatment programs more than doubled from 10,365 to 20,815 participants.
- -Maryland has gained both jobs and taxes through implementation of the ACA.
- -Repeal could result in a loss of 52,000 jobs in Maryland in 2019 and a loss of $982 million in state and local taxes for the period 2019 to 2023.
Patient advocacy includes advocating for access to health care and our Anne Arundel Medical Center nursing staff did just that.
-Kathy Sowa, RN, Staff Nurse, Neuro Care Unit