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Throughout his career, Tom Harkin has been a strong and consistent supporter of nurses and understands the critical role they play in the delivery of health care in Iowa and the rest of the country. In fact, Senator Harkin is the only member of the United States Senate to have a Nurse Advisory Committee to advise him on health care issues. He knows that nurses are often the hardest working members of our health care system.

That is why he proposed a plan this year to give nurses $17,500 in student loan forgiveness and why he is an original co-sponsor of the Nurse Reinvestment Act.

A few of Harkin’s more recent achievements for nurses include:

  • In 2001, secured significant funds to eliminate nursing shortages in Iowa

  • In 2001, Harkin Rural Health Security Act signed into law

  • In 2001, secured assistance for nursing college at Mercy Medical Center

  • In 2000-01, provided strong investment in National Health Service Corps, for health professions, and record increases for nursing research at the National Institute of Health.
Nurses for Harkin is a group of Iowa nurses working to send Senator Harkin back to the U.S. Senate to continue to work on their behalf. The group campaigns for Harkin across Iowa at county fairs, parades and events, writes letters to the editor on Tom’s behalf, and encourages other Iowa nurses to support Tom.

A Comparison of the Harkin and Ganske Records
ISSUE: Iowa Nurses Association
Endorsed by the Iowa Nurses Association. The Iowa Nurses Association has formally endorsed Tom Harkin in the 2002 Senate race. [Des Moines Register, 3/25/02] Criticized for Misleading Fundraising Letter Sent to Nurses. The INA criticized Ganske for sending a misleading fundraising letter to Iowa nurses. Ganske’s letter implied that the INA endorsed him, when, in fact, they had endorsed Harkin. The INA demanded that Ganske send another letter to “set the record straight.” [INA release, 3/18/02]
ISSUE: Nurses in Rural Communities
Harkin Rural Health Security Plan Signed Into Law. As chairman of the committee that funds health care, Harkin successfully passed his rural health security plan to increase quality, access and affordability of health care services in small towns and rural areas. This included increasing funding for the National Health Service Corps, community health centers and expanding the capacity of Rural Health Research Centers. President Bush signed Harkin’s plan into law in 2001. Voted to Cut Rural Health by Over 40%. In 2002, Ganske voted for the Republican budget that cut rural health funding by $54 million, 41.9 percent lower than the previous year. The budget also cut health professions funding by $278 million, or 71.6 percent below the previous level. In committee, Ganske also voted against increasing funds to rural community centers. [vote #79, 3/20/02; committee vote, 6/13/96]
ISSUE: Student Loans to Nurses
Proposed Plan to Give Student Loan Forgiveness to Nurses. In 2002, Harkin proposed a plan to help lift the college debt burden so students can take on the challenge of nursing or teaching. By agreeing to serve for five years in Iowa communities that face shortages of nurses or teachers, graduates would be eligible for up to $17,500 of student loan forgiveness. [Harkin Release, 3/26/02] Voted to Cut Student Loans by $10.2 Billion. In 1995, Ganske voted for the Republican Budget Reconciliation bill which, among other things, cut student loans by $10.2 billion. [vote #743, 10/26/95]
ISSUE: Medicare Reimbursements
Wrote Bipartisan Bill to Improve Medicare Reimbursements to Iowa. In 2000 and 2001, Harkin joined with Republican Sen. Larry Craig to introduce the FAIR Act to adjust payments so that no state is paid more than 105% above the national average and no state is paid below 95% of the national average. This bill would increase reimbursement rates to at least 32 states, including Iowa. [S.1020, 6/12/01; S.2610; 5/23/00] Four Times Voted for a Bill that Actually Cut Iowa’s Reimbursements. In May 2002, Ganske voted four times to reclassify New York and Pennsylvania counties so that hospitals in those areas would receive higher Medicare reimbursements, at the expense of other states like Iowa. New York and Pennsylvania rank third and sixth highest Medicare reimbursements in the country, respectively. Iowa ranks 50th. [vote #194; vote #204; vote #206; vote #224]
ISSUE: Patients’ Bill of Rights
Co-Sponsored a Real Patients’ Bill of Rights. Harkin has consistently co-sponsored a real Patients’ Bill of Rights to protect patients from HMOs. [1999, S.6; 2001, S.283] Voted for Weak Patients’ Bill of Rights He Called “Worse Than Nothing.” After originally supporting a real Patients’ Bill of Rights, Ganske voted for a watered-down bill even he called “worse than nothing.” [vote #332, 8/2/01; New York Times, 8/3/01]


Harkin enlists ‘Superman’ aid
Statement from Don Schneider
Harkin addresses teacher, nurse shortage
Edwards: Ganske Record on Generic Drugs is Wrong Prescription

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Use the information on this page to write letters to the editor on Tom’s behalf. For a complete list of Iowa daily newspapers and information on sending them a letter to the editor click here.

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