On the Issues
Senator Sanders is a member of the Congressional Nursing Caucus.
Senator Sanders has signed onto two nursing ‘Dear Colleagues’ in this session of Congress (Agency on Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and Title VIII letter). A Member of Congress signs a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter on an issue that they are willing to support, usually if a bill on that issue has not yet been introduced. The AHRQ letter requests $460 million in appropriations funding for the agency while the Title VIII letter requests $266 million in appropriations funding for future nursing education.
Senator Sanders voted for the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6) that became law in the previous session of Congress. One provision of this legislation gives nurse practitioners and physician assistants permanent authorization to prescribe medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid substance use disorder if they complete an education course to obtain a waiver from the Drug Enforcement Agency. It also gives clinical nurse specialists, certified registered nurse anesthetists, and certified nurse-midwives five-years authority to prescribe MAT if they obtain the same waiver.
Similarly, he introduced The Opioid Crisis Accountability Act of 2018 (S. 2691) in the previous session of Congress. This legislation included prohibiting and penalizing illegal marketing and distribution of opioids, creating criminal liability for top company executives and required drug makers to reimburse an HHS-led “Opioid Reimbursement Fund” for the negative economic impact of their products had this legislation passed.
He also supports lowering prescription drug costs and has introduced the Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act (S. 99), the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act (S. 97), and the Prescription Drug Price Relief Act (S. 102) in this Congress.
Health System Transformation
Senator Sanders is one of the foremost champions of Medicare for All and introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2019 (S. 1129) in the Senate. This bill would transition the United States to a single-payer health care system where a government-run plan provides insurance coverage to all Americans.
Bernie Sanders earned the financial support of the ANA-PAC in the past. Financial support from ANA-PAC does not indicate ANA has endorsed this candidate for President of the United States.
Additional Health Care Information
In the South Carolina debate in February 2020, Senator Sanders spoke about nurses when referencing his debt forgiveness proposals. He said that “we also put $2 billion into a program which would provide debt forgiveness for doctors, nurses, dentists, we have a major dental affordable crisis in this country, to make sure that they are practicing in underserved areas.”
During National Nurses Week, Bernie Sanders tweeted that “Without a strong, dedicated nursing workforce, no hospital can provide the quality care patients deserve. This #NationalNursesWeek and every week, we say to our nurses: Thank you for the difficult and important work you do, and we are with you.”