Opinion: Consider Health Care When You Vote

Texas Nurses for Biden urge support of Biden / Harris ticket

Opinion: Consider Health Care When You Vote

The 2020 presidential election will be one of the most consequential elections our nation has ever faced. We write as registered nurses who are supporting Joe Biden and Kamala Harris for president and vice president. We believe that Americans have a choice on the ballot this year between a candidate who will be inclusive and restore a moral compass with empaty for human beings or a candidate who has sown chaos and division while showing no compassion for the American people. The Trump administration has us literally fighting for our lives as we face down the coronavirus pandemic while sparring over our economic futures; access to affordable and equitable health care; racial equality; social justice; and immigration policy.

Nursing has long supported our nation's efforts to create a health care system that assures access, quality, and services at an affordable cost. Indeed, the American Nurses Association lobbied for the passage of Medicare when other health care professionals were opposed. Joe Biden is committed to strengthening and improving the ACA to expand coverage for millions of Americans. He also has plans to lead us through the current pandemic by following the advice of the public health experts, starting with wearing a mask. We now stand at 200,000-plus deaths and rising from COVID-19. Eleven hundred of those individuals are health care workers. The current occupant of the White House has not chosen to lead in this crisis and now admits to downplaying the entire situation.

Perhaps more than at any other time over the past century, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought into focus the essential nature of nurses’ contributions to the health promotion, illness prevention, and compassionate healing of all people in need.

From bedsides to boardrooms, professional nurses across this country have always served the health care needs of our people. We know firsthand the value, knowledge, and skills nurses bring to the care of others. Nurses are aware of the health care disparities based upon race in our health care system. Evidence exists that Black people have lower life expectancies and higher rates of infant and maternal mortality. Black people suffer higher rates of diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension. Hispanic people have more deaths than their non-Hispanic white counterparts from diabetes and chronic liver disease. The COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated these disparities. Nurses are committed to health equity independent of race or socioeconomic status.

Perhaps more than at any other time over the past century, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought into focus the essential nature of nurses' contributions to the health promotion, illness prevention, and compassionate healing of all people in need. It has also laid bare the lack of a coordinated national response to COVID-19. The Trump administration has failed to promote and enforce life-saving coronavirus mitigation strategies through organized, consistent, and evidence-based guidelines. The silencing or denigrating of scientific and medical experts and institutions has denied critical public health safeguards and failed nurses and all Americans.

The welfare of this country depends upon a change in leadership this fall. The choice is clear. We believe the Biden/Harris ticket is the best choice for all Americans. Our body of work compels us to speak out and express our support for the presidential candidate who we believe will best serve the people of this nation: Joe Biden.

Lorraine L. Papa, Ph.D., APRN-BC, represents Texas Nurses for Biden. Dr. Papa has a Ph.D. in nursing from UT-Austin, is a board-certified advanced practice nurse with prescriptive authority, and holds national certification from ANCC as a psychiatric clinical nurse specialist. Dr. Papa is currently in private practice in Austin.

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Texas Nurses for Biden, Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, health care, nursing

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