Nurses, Insurers, Others Pushing To Be Included in Health Reform Debate
Summaries of efforts by groups outside the political arena to be included in the debate over health care reform legislation appear below.
- Nurses: Hundreds of nurses last week rallied on Capitol Hill in an attempt to have their voices and opinions on health care reform heard and included as lawmakers begin to draft legislation, Roll Call reports. The rally included the California Nurses Association-National Nurses Organizing Committee, the American Academy of Nursing, the American Nurses Association and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. According to Roll Call, some of the groups disagree on the details of reform, including whether reform should include a single-payer system, but are united in their effort to be included in discussions on overhaul legislation. Michelle Artz, a lobbyist for ANA, said, "We want to make sure this isn't a physician-centric dialogue" (Ackley, Roll Call, 5/18).
- Insurers: Although many health insurers fought against health care reform legislation proposed under former President Clinton, many now have begun to work with lawmakers and administration officials to ensure that their concerns are addressed and interests are protected in overhaul legislation, the Indianapolis Star reports. The Star profiled recent efforts by WellPoint to be included in the overhaul process (Lee, Indianapolis Star, 5/17).
- Opposition: David Plouffe, President Obama's campaign manager, in a fundraising e-mail warned Obama supporters that opponents of health care reform are beginning to ramp up their efforts to block such legislation, The Hill reports (Youngman, The Hill, 5/16). Plouffe wrote, "We knew health care reform would face fierce opposition -- and it's begun," adding, "As we speak, the same people behind the notorious 'swiftboat' ads of 2004 are already pumping millions of dollars into deceptive television ads. Their plan is simple: torpedo health care reform before it sees the light of day by scaring the public and distorting the president's approach." According to Politico, the ad campaign was launched by Conservatives for Patients' Rights executive Rick Scott. Plouffe encouraged supporters of reform legislation to "flood the streets with volunteers armed with facts," adding, "When [opponents of reform] send lobbyists to tell Congress to back down, we'll send millions of calls, letters and stories from real Americans asking them to stand up" (Budoff Brown, Politico, 5/16).
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