On the Issues
Senator Harris is a cosponsor of the Home Health Planning Improvement Act of 2019 (S. 296), which would allow nurse practitioners (NPs), clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), and certified nurse midwives (CNMs) to order home health care services.
Senator Harris has also cosponsored the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (S. 851). This legislation would require the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to develop standards requiring health care and social service employers to write and implement a workplace violence prevention plan to protect employees from violence incidents in the workplace.
Senator Harris signed a nursing ‘Dear Colleague’ during this Congress (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 Title VIII letter requests $266 million in appropriations funding for future nursing education.
Senator Harris 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.
Senator Harris introduced the Accountability in Opioid Advertising Act (S. 3420) during the previous session of Congress. This legislation would have required the Food and Drug Administration to prioritize the promotional materials for drugs for serious, life-threatening diseases or conditions or substance use disorders. It especially emphasized opioid drugs and drugs for medication-assisted treatment, in considering whether promotional materials are false or misleading, had this legislation passed.
As California’s Attorney General, in 2016 Harris filed a lawsuit against Indivior, a British pharmaceutical company, and MonoSolRX, an Indiana pharmaceutical film technology company, for inflating opioid addiction treatment prices.
Health System Transformation
Senator Harris is a cosponsor of the Medicare for All Act of 2019 (S. 1129). 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. However, in July 2019, Harris’s campaign unveiled her own Medicare-for-All plan, creating a public option over 10 years, while still allowing private insurers to offer competing “Medicare plans” as long as the commercial plans meet the care standards of the government plan.
Additional Health Care Information
In October 2019, Senator Harris tweeted that “All children, no matter where they live, should have a nurse and social worker at their school. Early intervention and screening not only improve children’s health, it can help catch any issues before they become big problems. It’s time we treat children’s needs with urgency.”