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NASW Supports the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Legislation would expand health care coverage to millions of Americans

WASHINGTON D.C. - The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) today announced its support of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”. NASW, representing nearly 150,000 social workers nationwide, strongly supports this historic legislation and urges the Senate to pass health care reform for Americans now. If passed, differences with a separate House version of health reform legislation will still need to be resolved.

The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” provides more affordable, quality coverage for millions of Americans and expands health insurance coverage choices.  If passed, this legislation would allow individuals to retain their current coverage, provide additional private plan options and in some states, offer a public health insurance option designed to lower costs and keep insurance companies accountable. 

“Social workers are encouraged by the progress Congress has made toward health care reform this year,” says Elizabeth Clark, Ph.D., ACSW, MPH, executive director of NASW.  “NASW looks forward to working with Congressional leaders during this debate to pass a healthcare reform bill that includes universal coverage, promotes quality health care and includes social workers in the service delivery system.”

NASW and its members are long-time advocates for major health care reform.  Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, a pioneer in the social work profession, included universal health care on the 12-item agenda she brought to President Roosevelt in 1933. This was the only item on her agenda that did not pass into law and social workers have actively sought health care reform since that time.

Professional social workers address the range of social, emotional and environmental problems that patients bring with them to health and mental health systems. Social workers are an essential part of health care teams because they are specifically trained to address the psychosocial implications of acute and chronic illnesses, and are the largest providers of mental health services in the United States.

Earlier this month, NASW pledged its support of the “Affordable Health Care for Americans Act of 2009” (H.R 3962), the House version of health care reform legislation. NASW will remain actively involved in this debate as the Senate bill makes its way to a final vote. NASW plans to strongly support this unprecedented legislation and looks forward to completing the agenda of Secretary Perkins with its passage.

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The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), in Washington, DC, is the largest membership organization of professional social workers with 132,000 members. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its advocacy.