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NFN Response to State of the Union

January 28, 2010

Washington, DC - The National Federation of Nurses applauds President Obama’s call, in the State of the Union address last night, for Congress and all Americans to keep working on health care reform. We believe that his goals for job creation and economic recovery are dependent on substantive health care reforms that keep Americans healthy and working, prevent bankruptcy and financial ruin from astronomical medical bills, and provide greater access, lower costs and better outcomes for all Americans.

The connections between our nation’s economic recovery and the reform of our health care system are clear:

  • The high insurance costs from our currently broken and deteriorating system on employers and employees alike will only serve as a growing anchor on our economy’s ability to turn the corner and make sustained progress toward economic health.
  • The result of having millions of Americans without health insurance is a significant drain on public and private healthcare resources as a result of high cost crisis intervention rather than prevention and management of disease and illness. Every time an American without health insurance goes to the emergency room for treatment, insurance costs go up to cover those costs.
  • A healthy workforce is a productive workforce, and this country will fall short of having a truly healthy workforce without health care reform.
  • Individually, Americans with and without health insurance are put into precarious financial positions every day when out-of-control healthcare bills come due. They are unable to contribute to the economy, and resulting bankruptcies further weaken our economy.

In any job creation strategy, National Federation of Nurses strongly advises the President and Congress to look for strategic opportunities and programs that create quality family wage jobs where they are needed most For example, it is well documented that the United States is about to face history’s worst shortage of professional nurses—at a time when nurses are in greater demand than ever. Nursing workforce development programs are an excellent investment in job creation and healthcare.

We applaud and celebrate President Obama’s direction to his administration to limit access to lobbyists in policymaking posts. We recognize that in order to succeed, we must work in a bipartisan approach and not allow the financial interests tied to the insurance industry to obstruct, confuse or delay the adoption of a new health care plan. We call on him to work directly with authentic organizations like National Federation of Nurses, a national nurse’s union lead by nurses with years of hands-on, in-the-trenches experience on the challenges of providing health care. We can provide valuable perspective as both employees and as caregivers.

National Federation of Nurses stands ready to continue to work with the President, leaders of Congress and the states we serve.

About the National Federation of Nurses

The National Federation of Nurses is a national labor organization for registered nurses. It was founded in December 2008 on the principles of democracy, inclusiveness, transparency and equity, and provides a collaborative forum for nurses. The organization is made up of and directed by its members; current members are the state nurses associations of Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon and Washington, with an open invitation to all state associations. The National Federation of Nurses provides support, education and assistance to member organizations, with a priority on reforming our health care system to achieve better outcomes and reduce costs, and on securing workplace protections afforded through collective bargaining.

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