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Seattle, U.S.A. — The Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA) expressed strong approval for the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold all major provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). With many reforms already having a positive impact in Washington, WSNA has pledged to continue work already under way to increase access to quality, affordable, appropriate care.
As front line health care providers, registered nurses are acutely aware of the consequences when people do not have access or cannot afford quality health care. Our health care system has been plagued by rising health care costs, increasing numbers of uninsured and under insured individuals, and growing disparities in health care access. With the passage of health care reform came the promise that we would fix our broken health care system, lower costs, and improve health outcomes.
“It is incredibly encouraging to know that the Supreme Court stands behind health care reform and has agreed that we must move forward with this transformational process. Nurses supported health care reform because we knew that our patients and our communities could no longer thrive under a broken health care system. As more and more pieces are implemented, I hope I will no longer have the heartbreak of seeing patients forced to make decisions about their treatment based on cost rather than what’s best for their recovery. We all know there is still much work to do, but this is truly a moment to celebrate,” said Julia Weinberg, RN, President of the Washington State Nurses Association.
There are currently over one million people in Washington without health insurance who will benefit from programs already in development. A state health-insurance exchange will allow many of these individuals to purchase affordable insurance and the ACA also includes provisions to expand Medicaid. WSNA is committed to ensuring that the exchange and Medicaid expansion move forward so that Washington can continue to increase access to health care.
“Nurses are already seeing the positive effects such as increased coverage for young adults and better access to preventive care. Increasing access to coverage will only continue to provide more benefits and better outcomes to individuals and our state as a whole. As we increase coverage and access, we are also increasing demand on our health care system and it is critical that we have an adequate supply of qualified registered nurses moving forward. Now is the time for nurses to be involved in planning for the future of our health care system and the future of our profession,” said Judy Huntington, MN, RN, Executive Director of the Washington State Nurses Association.
WSNA, along with the American Nurses Association, has consistently supported and advocated for a system that guarantees every single person in this country has access to quality care in a timely fashion by the most appropriate health care provider at an affordable cost. Since passage of the Affordable Care Act, WSNA has worked with local, state and national partners to represent the nursing profession and ensure that nurses’ voices are included in planning and implementation of reform.