OLYMPIA, Wash. - It's National Nurses Week, and just as pioneering nurse Florence Nightingale tended to wounded soldiers, nurses today are also on the front lines, fighting to protect patient care. The Affordable Care Act has come under attack, but nurses across the country say there's too much at stake to take away the benefits of the law.
Norberto Molina of Miami has worked as a nurse for over 20 years. He says he cared for one little girl who had cancer but was denied coverage by three different insurance companies when she had a recurrence. He credits the Affordable Care Act for changing that practice.
This is a little four-year-old girl that was being treated for something, and then three years later she comes back to the same thing. The father told me it was like night and day the problems that he had to go through with the insurance companies. - Norberto Molina
The Affordable Care Act is also ensuring that young adults can extend coverage through their parent's plans, make preventive care free, crack down on waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare, and subject insurance company rate hikes to a more thorough review.
The Supreme Court heard arguments in March from those who oppose the law as well as those who uphold it, and a ruling is expected in June. Nurses across the country are educating patients and the communities they serve on the facts about the law, its benefits and how it's been implemented.
National Nurses Week is a recognition and celebration of the importance of nurses to their patients and their communities. RN Linda Boch of Maryland comes from a long line of nurses. She says nurses are the voice for their patients when they can't speak up for themselves.
"Nurses Week reminds us that together we can advocate stronger and more unified on behalf of our patients, and that includes fighting for the Affordable Care Act to make sure that it stays in place and even gets better."
Denise Glass also works in Miami as a nurse and says that, in just two years since its passage, the Affordable Care Act is improving care, improving patient's lives, and making it easier for nurses to give their patients the care they need.
"It's going to help make our jobs much easier, so nurses are going to actually be able to get back to the bedside and do the hands-on care that we love to do."
National Nurses Week is celebrated each year from May 6 through May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.
Molina, Boch and Glass are all members of the Nurse Alliance of SEIU.