Published January 19, 2022
The Nurse Corps Tax Parity Act Introduced in the Senate
On January 13, Senate Nursing Caucus Co-Chairs, Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Roger Wicker (R-MS), along with Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and John Boozman (R-AR) introduced the Nurse Corps Tax Parity Act (S. 3505). This bipartisan bill is also supported by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). Unlike other programs, such as the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), the Nurse Corps is subject to federal taxes. S. 3505 would change this and aims for parity in the Nurse Corps programs. AACN has long supported this effort and looks forward to working with Congress to advance this bipartisan bill.
Senate HELP Committee Holds Hearing on New COVID-19 Variants
On January 11, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing titled, “Addressing New Variants: A Federal Perspective on the COVID-19 Response,” to discuss the state of the COVID-19 pandemic and the current surge of the Omicron variant. Witnesses included directors and officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Witnesses highlighted crucial steps to decreasing the spread of COVID-19, such as wearing a N95 mask and continued vaccinations, including receiving booster shot when eligible. They also stressed that the best ways to protect the population from the many variants of COVID-19 is increased access to vaccines and testing. To view the hearing, click here.
AACN Attends MedPAC’s January Meeting
On January 13-14, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), a federal commission advising Congress on issues affecting the administration of the Medicare program, held its first public meeting of the year. MedPAC discussed key recommendations, such as payment adequacy and updating payments for varying healthcare facilities and professions, developing a multi-track population-based payment model, and designing a value incentive program for post-acute care. We were pleased to see one of AACN’s Health Policy Advisory Council members, Betty Rambur, PhD, RN, FAAN, speak as a member of this commission. Dr. Rambur shared her insight into the needs of the nursing workforce and nursing education. This was beneficial as MedPAC discussed many issues facing the current and future healthcare workforce. For more information on MedPAC’s January meeting, click here.