Against the backdrop of more than 1,000 cheering nurse delegates and other RNs, President Obama took the stage at ANA’s House of Delegates (HOD) Wednesday to thank ANA and nurses for their strong commitment to ensuring access to health care and system reform.
“After a long and tough fight, we succeeded in passing health care reform -- and [it] will make a big difference in the lives of people,”’ Obama told the nurses, who waved signs saying, “Yes We Did.”
Obama noted that ANA’s advocacy around access is nothing new and singled out Past President Jo Eleanor Elliott, BSN, RN, FAAN, who led ANA to become the first health care organization to support the creation of the Medicare program
He also spoke about the failures of the health care system, which often favored insurance companies over patients, nurses and other providers.
“Because you know our health care system so well, that is why you have become such fierce advocates for reform,” he said.
He also pointed to changes that are occurring or will occur as a result of the historic measure, including those that affect nurses, such as boosting federal funding for nurse-managed clinics to meet the nation’s primary care needs.
“My task is to ensure a health care system that is worthy of your efforts,” Obama said
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Another key event on the first day of the HOD was ANA’s “Lobby Day,” and an estimated 1,400 nurses took part – some meeting with their policymakers on Capitol Hill, while others participated online.
One of their major messages was to ask policymakers to support the “Registered Nurse Safe Staffing Act,” which calls for hospitals to follow ANA’s Principles for Nurse Staffing, among other provisions. The measure was introduced this week in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Lois Capps (D-CA), Steven LaTourette (R-OH) and Ginny Brown-Waite (R-FL).