Washington - The American Nurses' Association (ANA) is intensifying efforts to provide adequate funding for vital healthcare programs in Fiscal Year 1988. Responding to President Reagan's budget proposal for FY '88, ANA President Margretta M. Styles, EdD, RN, FAAN, said, "ANA believes healthcare funding in the budget proposed by the President is dangerously inadequate, particularly as it will affect disadvantaged populations such as the poor, children, and the elderly."
The Administration's proposal calls for increasing premiums for Medicare Part B and boosting the Medicare deductible. The President has also proposed delaying Medicare eligibility for the elderly by one month and a cap on Medicaid expenditures. "These provisions will place a greater financial burden on those least able to bear it," said Styles. "As we work together to balance the federal budget, we must make certain that cost savings are not gained at the expense of our most vulnerable citizens."
As in past budget proposals issued by this Administration, funding for nursing education is absent from the FY '88 budget. In addition, those monies already allocated for FY '87 have been eliminated. "Once again, the Administration is attempting to eliminate federal support for nursing education," said Styles. "This is hard to explain in light of increasing reports of nursing shortages, particularly in such crucial areas as specialty care, where federal dollars for nursing education are spent. It can only reflect extreme shortsightedness or a shocking lack of knowledge about changes that are presently occurring in the healthcare marketplace. "
Having worked to override a presidential veto to establish a National Center for Nursing Research in the 99th Congress, ANA is also concerned about reduction of federal support for nursing research. Nineteen million dollars have been earmarked to support the new center in the next budget year; however, $1.5 million of that amount is a carryover of the FY '87 appropriation. Styles said, "At a time when cost-effective methods to deliver health care are of a prime importance, the principle of 'robbing Peter to pay Paul' is no longterm solution to healthcare needs nor an immediate solution to the budget deficit."
ANA joined four major health and consumer organizations in stating their opposition to Medicare and Medicaid cuts in a full page advertisement published in the Washington Post. Styles called ANA's participation in this cooperative venture a first step in nursing's defense of necessary healthcare programs and services. "We will work aggressively with the 100th Congress in assuring that the nation's healthcare needs are met."