Health Care Reform

For decades, the American Nurses Association has advocated for health care reforms that would guarantee access to high-quality health care for all. ANA recognizes the debate over health care is ongoing, and the organization remains committed to educating the nursing public about how the changing system impacts patients’ lives and the nursing profession.

ANA continues to deliver nursing's message, provide resources, develop solutions, and take action to ensure the successful implementation of health reform while continuing to represent the interests of the nation’s nurses and patients.

We believe that any attempt to transform the American health care system must follow four major principles.

Ensure universal access to a standard package of essential health care services for all citizens and residents. This includes:

  • An essential benefits package that provides access to comprehensive services, including mental health services.
  • Prohibition of the denial of coverage due to a pre-existing condition.
  • Inclusion of children on parents’ health insurance coverage until the age of 26.
  • Expansion of Medicaid as a safety net for the most vulnerable, including the chronically ill, elderly, and poor.

Optimize primary, community-based and preventive services while supporting the cost-effective use of innovative, technology-driven, acute, hospital-based services. This includes:

  • Primary health care that is focused on developing an engaged partnership with the patient.
  • Primary health care that includes preventive, curative, and rehabilitative services delivered in a coordinated manner by members of the health care team.
  • Removing barriers and restrictions that prevent Registered Nurses (RNs) and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) from contributing fully to patient care in all communities.
  • Care coordination services that reduce costs and improve outcomes with consistent payment that is sustainable for all qualified health care professionals delivering such services, including nurses.

Encourage mechanisms to stimulate cost-effective use of health care services while minimizing burdens on those who do not have the means to share in costs. This includes:

  • A partnership between the government and private sector to address health care costs.
  • Payment systems that reward quality and the appropriate, effective use of resources.
  • Beneficiaries paying for a portion of their care to provide an incentive for the efficient use of services while ensuring that deductibles and co-payments are not a barrier to receiving care.
  • Elimination of lifetime caps or annual limits on coverage.
  • Federal subsidies based on an income-based sliding scale to assist individuals to purchase insurance coverage.
  • Programs to improve equity in health care access, disease burden, and cost outcomes.

Ensure a sufficient supply of a skilled workforce dedicated to providing high quality health care services. This includes:

  • An adequate supply of RNs who have the education, placement, and practice authority to meet the needs of all patient populations. 
  • Increased funding, whether grant or loan repayment based, for programs and services focused on increasing the primary care workforce.
  • Funding to elevate support for increasing nursing faculty and workforce diversity.