The American Nurses' Association (ANA) praised the recommendations of the US Bipartisan Commission on Comprehensive Health Care and urged all parties involved to make the decisions needed to transform the recommendations into national policy.
The commission, commonly referred to as the "Pepper Commission" in memory of its first chairman, the late Senator Claude Pepper, was charged with developing recommendations on how to ensure the availability of comprehensive health care and long-term care for all Americans in need of such services. The commission was also charged to consider the amount and source of funds needed, and the most effective manner for administering programs for those serv- V ices.
The recommendations include a plan for universal health-care coverage to be achieved in several phases over time, and, among other long-term care recommendations, a plan for a nursing home program that would provide financial protection for those in danger of impoverishment due to long-term care costs.
The recommendationsalso estimate the federal cost of this plan at $65 billion. However, there are no recommendations on how Congress could reallocate funds or otherwise provide this funding. 4 The cost to the private business sector would be about $20 billion.
ANA commended the commission for focusing on a community-based continuum of care and recognizing that case management ensures quality and cost containment. ANA also supported the insurance reforms, particularly the elimination of pre-existing exclusions and the examination of malpractice and liability. The commission's inclusion of a national quality assurance program was also supported by nurses; however, ANA supported the involvement of all health professionals in the peer review of practice guidelines and standards of care for their respective professions. Overall, the recommendations in the commission's plan will help nurses to provide an improved quality of care.
For more information, contact Cathy Koeppen, ANA, 1101 14th Street, NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20005; 202-789-1800.