Legislative Update

December 2011

Governor Brown Vetoes Board of Nursing Renewal Bill

In October, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a routine bill that would have extended the authority of the Board of Registered Nursing (BRN) through 2015. The Governor took issue with first time hires who were to be given pensions, which he felt was irresponsible. The BRN added new investigators who would have the ability to subpoena, so they were classified as police officers.

The responsibility of the Board of Registered Nursing is to protect patients and nurses. UNAC/UHCP urges the Governor to call a special session of the legislature to address this issue immediately, so that public safety is not compromised. We look forward to working with the Governor towards a quick solution to this issue.

As it now stands, the BRN will be unable to license and discipline Registered Nurses starting January 1, 2012.  If the Governor calls a special session, a new bill to reauthorize the BRN can be voted on, passed and sent to the Governor for a signature. A second option is for this new bill to be voted on when the legislature resumes in January.

UNAC/UHCP members can go to unacuhcp.org to send a letter to their legislators in support of restoring the BRN as soon as possible.

How the Affordable Care Act Helps Families

The Affordable Care Act, the law that will reform our health care system, will impact many Americans beyond just those who are uninsured. For the insured, several provisions will provide significant savings, including limits on out-of-pocket costs for lower income families, protection from high deductibles and copayments, and the elimination of lifetime and annual limits on benefits.

Those who are uninsured will have more options to make insurance obtainable, including tax credits, an expansion of Medicaid, and new state insurance markets to be called “exchanges.”
Most importantly, health care reform will slow the growth of health care costs. Families USA, a non-profit, non-partisan health care organization, released a study that projected savings five years after all provisions of the Affordable Care Act have gone into effect.  Key among their findings, on average, each household in the United States will be $1,571 better off in 2019 due to the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

While it’s impossible to say what our own personal savings will be, it’s important to note that our patients will likely see benefits from the law, not just in their wallets, but also in coordination of care.