"As policymakers play partisan politics over the federal budget and looming debt ceiling, Americans are suffering," says the American Nurses Association (ANA), which urged members of Congress to find a responsible path forward to fund and reopen the government.
ANA is urging policymakers to find a comprehensive budget solution and opposes" piecemeal attempts to fund certain programs or those for specific populations," which mirrors the stance of the Obama Administration.
Further, ANA supports he full implementation of the Affordable Care Act and opening of the Health Insurance Exchanges on Oct. 1.
"The Affordable Care Act will make a real difference in people's lives, allowing them access to affordable coverage that will help them get well and stay well," said ANA President Karen A. Daley, PhD, RN, FAAN.
Recent polls reveal a large majority of Americans oppose the government shutdown.
"Putting the nation's financial standing and people's lives at risk because you don't like a law or the outcome of an election is irresponsible," said Daley. "Citizens expect more of their elected representatives and will hold them accountable."
The government shutdown is already negatively impacting some of the nation's most vulnerable citizens, ANA says. The National Institutes of Health will be forced to turn away 200 patients each week from its clinical research center, where children and other patients seek care for cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
"Already, as we head into flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are not monitoring how influenza is spreading across the country and are not able to support state and local partners for infectious disease surveillance," notes ANA. "The Food and Drug Administration will cease most food-safety operations, and the Environmental Protection Agency will stop monitoring air pollution and pesticide use."
What's more, if the shutdown persists, programs that assist veterans, women and children in need of assistance to buy healthy food and for those who depend on disability payments will cease to provide benefits, among others.