To some people, the link between nursing and politics might seem tenuous to some people, but to those who have put aside their stethoscopes for an office in their state capitals, the relationship is a natural one. Nurses are in the unique position of representing the interests of their fellow nurses and the health care needs of the general public (Larson, J., 2016).
Black was elected to the House of Representatives in 2010 and represents Tennessee’s 6th district, comprised of 19 counties across middle Tennessee. She has been a nurse for more than 40 years and her real-world experiences as a nurse have uniquely positioned her as a credible and effective leader on health care policy in Congress. She is focused on fully repealing the president’s disastrous health care law and advancing true market-based, patient-centered reforms that will bring down the rising cost of care by increasing private sector competition and consumer choice . Black serves as Chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee and a member of the Ways and Means Committee. (Blackhouse.gov). She is an advocate of Telehealth and has this to say about its usefulness. “Telehealth focuses on harnessing innovative technology to increase convenience for patients and caregivers, enhance the quality of care and save both patients and the Medicare program money. In Tennessee’s rural communities, the wider offering of telehealth services means more access to care,”. “For patients in suburban and urban communities throughout the state, telehealth offers the benefit of reducing the number of in-person visits to healthcare providers. As a nurse, I am proud to advance this bill so that Medicare Advantage plans can offer vital telehealth services as a basic benefit, rather than a supplemental service for our seniors.” (Press Release, 2017).
It was stated that, under current law, traditional Medical plans may only cover telehealth services in an extremely limited set of circumstances, such as when the beneficiary resides in a qualified rural area and is physically present in a hospital or physician’s office. The Increasing Telehealth Access to Medicare Act starts reform with Medicare Advantage, where plans have an incentive to ensure cost savings. Estimates have calculated that a telehealth consultation can save the Medicare program $45 versus an in-person visit (Press Release, 2017).
She authored the bill on “Increasing Telehealth Access to Medicare Act (H.R. 3727), which was unanimously passed in the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee. This bill will increase access to telehealth services for Medicare Advantage enrollees and allows plans to build as a core part of their care model. This congressman must be very influential for this bill which she presented to have passed the house. It is very interesting to know that those with medicare can now have access to telehealth all because of the influence of this powerful nurse. With this development, more nurses should be encouraged to join politics as they are better advocate for the people.
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