Discretionary Spending in Health Care Reform
While critics of the health care reform bill signed into law in March 2010 are eager to limit funding for the law if they cannot outright repeal it, much of the funding to carry out its provisions is mandatory. Potential discretionary spending under the law is estimated at a minimum of $115 billion over 10 years, out of a total cost of $930 billion. Listed below are some of the programs funded through discretionary spending.
- Grants to centers serving medically under-served populations: $34.0 billion through FY 2015
- Scholarships and loan repayments for National Health Service Corps participants: $4.0 billion through FY 2015
- Five-year grants to eligible institutions of higher education and nonprofit research institutions that work with depression: $1.3 billion through FY 2020
- Grants to state, local, and academic centers for strengthening infectious disease response capacity: $760 million through FY 2013
- Grants for schools that train minority, rural, and disadvantaged individuals to work in under-served areas: $625 million through FY 2014
- Grants to states for supporting trauma-related specialties and broadening access to trauma care: $600 million through FY 2015
- Formula grants to enhance state and local programs that protect elderly and disabled adults from abuse and neglect: $400 million through FY 2014
- Funding for programs that recruit and train minorities in the health professions: $300 million through FY 2015
- Grants to employers who provide access to comprehensive workplace wellness programs: $200 million through FY 2015
- Grants to states or medical schools for expanding emergency services for children: $138 million through FY 2014
Four New Nurses Elected to 112th Congress
The 112th Congress includes four new nurse members bringing total to seven. The new representatives are: Karen Bass (D-CA), a former nurse and physician assistant; Diane Black (R-TN), a former emergency room nurse; Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY), a former school nurse; and Renee Ellmers (R-NC), a former surgical intensive care nurse.
- Karen Bass was elected to represent California's 33rd district. The former speaker of the California Assembly, Bass replaces retiring Congresswoman Diane Watson (D). Representative Bass is a former nurse, physician assistant, and nonprofit community activism organization founder who has served in the California Assembly since 2004. She is the first African-American woman to lead the California Assembly.
- Diane Black will be representing Tennessee's 6th congressional district. Black was elected to replace retiring Congressman Bart Gordon (D). Representative Black is a former ED nurse, nonprofit community organizer, and a former member of the Tennessee State House and State Senate.
- Ann Marie Buerkle defeated Congressman Dan Maffei (D) to represent New York's 25th district. She is a former school nurse, lawyer, and has served as assistant state attorney general for New York.
- Representative Ellmers was elected to North Carolina's 2nd district, defeating Congressman Bob Etheridge (D). Before coming to Washington, Ellmers worked with her doctor husband as clinical director of the Trinity Wound Care Center.
FROM THE STATES . . .
Grant Program Established to Ease Iowa's Nurse Educator Shortage
To address the shortage of nurses and nurse educators in Iowa, the state's private, nonprofit organization, Iowa Student Loan, is offering grants to nurses to pursue higher education and become teachers. The Nurse Educator Grant Program is providing up to $125,000 in direct grants, with qualified recipients receiving up to $4,000 per academic year. In a press release on the program, Iowa Nurses Association president Virginia Wangerin said, "An overall shortage of nurses continues to be a serious issue here in Iowa, but the crux of the problem is a fundamental scarcity of the educators needed to train the next generations of nurses."
A survey conducted by Iowa Student Loan in 2008 indicated that the program was working and that nurses were being placed in Iowa communities facing shortages. In that same year, however, the state had more than 100 vacancies with the possibility of that number being greatly compounded in the near future due to the number of nursing professors reaching retirement. For example, the Des Moines Area Community College reported that one-third of its nursing faculty will reach retirement in the next five years. Any graduate-level nursing student who is either working as a nurse educator or hopes to have a professional career at one of the 35 Iowa colleges or universities may apply to and participate in the program.