Nurse-Legislator Advocacy Role
Currently, nurses practice in various fields, such as hospital bedsides, research laboratories, executive office suites, and the halls of the United States Congress. Legislators and nurses are expected to play the role of advocates to influence policies that affect the nursing profession as well as everyone’s well-being and health. Clinical experiences offer real-life examples that illustrate the needs of patients as well as the outcomes of public policy on patient mortality and morbidity (Gonzalez & Maryland, 2019). Lauren Ashley Underwood is one of the American politicians and registered nurses serving as the U.S. Representative for Illinois. Nurses are aware that the current healthcare system is in need of change (Abood, 2017). Underwood believes that every American needs to have high-quality and affordable health care. In her role as Congresswoman, she is focused on protecting people from various pre-existing conditions, expanding access to mental health care, and reducing health insurance premiums as well as drug prices.
One of Underwood’s first bills is the H.R.1010, which declares the “Short-Term, Limited Duration Insurance” of no effect. This bill safeguards patients by prohibiting “junk” insurance plans that fail to cover pre-existing conditions or health benefits that most people are reliant on, like maternity care, hospital services, or prescription drugs (Underwood, 2021). Underwood has also passed legislation to safeguard individuals with pre-existing conditions, allow individuals up to 26 years old to stay on their parent’s health insurance and help make quality health care more affordable. Recently, she introduced the Health Care Affordability Act (H.R 1868), which will make certain that nobody who buys insurance on their own is forced to pay over 8.5 percent of their income for health insurance premiums (Underwood, 2021). This bill will help lessen premiums for thousands in Illinois and make lower-cost options available to thousands more. She also believes that women need to have access to the full spectrum of reproductive health care options and offers support for investment in mental health, nursing, and other providers to enhance access to care. Lastly, the congresswoman is focused on retirement security so that seniors who have worked hard throughout their lives will have a comfortable and dignified retirement. She strongly supports the Social Security 2100 Act to improve social security benefits. She has also introduced the H.R. 2005, which is the Women’s Retirement Protection Act, which would extend critical protections to the retirement security of women and ensure that women are better prepared for their retirement (Underwood, 2021). Her nurse/legislator advocacy role has brought about major changes in health care.
Abood, S. (2017). “Influencing Health Care in the Legislative Arena”. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 12(1).
Gonzalez, R., & Maryland, M. (2012). Patient advocacy in the community and legislative arenas. OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 17(1).
Underwood, L.A. (2021). Health Care and Social Security. Retrieved from https://underwood.house.gov/issues/healthcare_socialsecurity
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Nurse-Legislator Advocacy Role
Choose a legislator on the state or federal level who is also a nurse and discuss the importance of the legislator/nurse’s role as advocate for improving health care delivery. What specific bills has the legislator/nurse sponsored or supported that have influenced health care.