Every day as a nurse, I deal with challenges of not enough resources, not enough time and precious lives on the line, and I need to make the right decision. After all, people put their trust in me, just like they put their trust in the nurses, doctors and health care workers they encounter in hospitals and health care centers every day. If you think about it, not a lot can get done in health care without trust.
Thinking about that is why I’m proud that my union, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), voted to endorse Hillary Clinton this week. I trust Secretary Clinton. People in the health care profession especially know that she has been making the right decisions in service of the American people for decades. I’m proud to have been one of the thousands of SEIU nurses who fought for the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and I trust Hillary Clinton to protect, defend and improve it.
For the first time in my 26 years as a nurse at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, I am finally seeing patients get preventive care. That’s life changing and it is all because of the ACA. Thanks to the health care law, more Americans have coverage than any time in U.S. history. Dads who previously were denied health care because of a pre-existing condition now have affordable insurance, working moms are getting annual screenings and birth control at no additional cost, and young adults can stay covered on their parents’ insurance while they get on their feet after college.
President Barack Obama led the way. But it was Hillary Clinton who put affordable health care at the top of the national agenda for the first time as First Lady. She fought for it then, she kept up the fight as a U.S. Senator. Who better to entrust the continued fight to in the White House?
We’ve made too much progress to put our health care future back in the hands of a Republican president and the corporations that back them. I’m not willing to let tens of thousands of Iowans to lose their health care. Or allow 16 million Americans to lose their affordable coverage at the stroke of a pen. Or see 100 million Americans lose the peace of mind that comes from the lifting of lifetime coverage caps and the end of denials due to pre-existing conditions like cancer and diabetes. There’s not any guesswork here. Every Republican presidential candidate has plans to gut the ACA. We need Hillary Clinton as our next president to stop that from happening.
We also need her new ideas for strengthening health care. Secretary Clinton has outlined plans to take on the out-of-control drug prices that are endangering patients with chronic or serious health conditions. She would require drug companies to provide rebates to seniors on fixed incomes. And insurance companies would have to cover three sick visits to the doctor without triggering a deductible payment. That’s just common sense.
Hillary Clinton has proved that she will fight, deliver and win for working women and men. She knows that when people are able to join together in unions — whether they are nurses, fast food workers, home care workers or adjunct professors — it means a fair shot at raising wages for everyone. Here in Iowa, moms are the sole, primary or co-breadwinners in more than 70 percent of families, and yet their paychecks don’t go far enough. Some 45 percent of Iowans in the private sector do not have a single paid sick day. In the fight for our and our children’s future, Secretary Clinton will be with us every step of the way.
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The Iowa caucuses really aren’t far away and every second counts: the holidays are upon us now and before we can blink, it will be February 1. Between now and then, I will join thousands of other nurses and working people to door-knock and phone-bank for Hillary Clinton. I hope you will join me.
• Ann Byrne is a registered nurse. She lives in West Branch.