Policy making is done at all levels of society from government and private organization to individuals. Geurts (n.d.) defines public policy making as “‘a choice that government makes in response to a political issue or a public problem.’ Policies are made in an attempt to achieve a desire outcome for the situation at hand or for the population that the policy may affect. At the government level, a policy starts as a bill. A bill has to be sponsored by any member of congress and it is that member that introduces the bill initially with the designations of H.R. for House bills and S. for Senate bills (www.naeyc.org, n.d.). After introduction of the bill and designation as mentioned previously, the bill is sent to the appropriate committee with jurisdiction over the bills primary issue.
In the case of the ACA 40 hour definition of the work week was the original bill was H.R.2575 – Save American Workers Act of 2014 an was introduced in June 2013 by Rep. Young, Todd C (R-IN-9) and passed in April 2014 (www.congress.gov, 2014). The bill was read again in April 2014 and then place on the Senates Legislative Calendar. In the Senate it is introduced by Sen Susan Collins (R-ME) as S.30 – Forty hours is Full Time Act of 2015 where it was read twice upon introduction and has been referred to the Committee on Finance (www.congress.gov, 2015). Both pieces of legislature seek to amend the current policy which mandates employers to provide health care coverage to their full time employees currently at 30 hours per week and increase the full time employment definition to be 40 hours per week.
At this time S. 30 has been referred to the Committee on Finance with no exact date for further action. This date is and if the bill comes before congress is decided upon by the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader of the Senate (naeyc.org, n.d.). A report of the bill detailing the intent, legislative history, its impact on current laws and programs and the position of the majority of the member of the committee is written by the referral Committee Chairman’s staff. This speaks to the premise of the policy and the repercussions of its passage. If it passes again it is referred to the other chamber who reviews it again before there is a conference on the bill and then it goes on for action by the President.
Overall there are strong arguments against this bill. The American Nurses Association (ANA) has sent a letter to the House of Representatives to oppose this bill (www.rnaction.org, 2014) as its passage would negatively affect nurses who work full time less than 40 hours a week which is recommended to prevent nurse fatigue and to promote safety and health for both patients and nurses (www.nursingworld.org, 2014). The ANA is currently calling all nurses to share their stories of the negative impact this bill could have on them.
American Nurses Association (ANA). (2014). When Nurses Talk…Washington Listens. Retrieved from http://www.rnaction.org/site/MessageViewer?dlv_id=12121&em_id=15681.0
American Nurses Association (ANA). (2014). ANA Position Statement: Addressing Nurse Fatigue to Promote Safety and Health: Joint Responsibilities of Registered Nurses and Employers to Reduce Risks. Retrieved from http://www.nursingworld.org/Addressing-Nurse-Fatigue-ANA-Position-Statement.pdf
Congress.gov. (2014). H.R.2575 – Save American Workers Act of 2014. Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/2575/
Congress.gov. (2015). S.30 – Forty Hours Is Full Time Act of 2015. Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/30?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22forty+hours+is+full+time+act+of+2015%22
Guerts, T. (n.d.). Public Policy Making: The 21st Century Perspective. Retrieved from http://www.beinformed.com/BeInformed/webdav-resource/binaries/pdf/publications/public-policy-making.pdf?webdav-id=/Be%20Informed%20Bibliotheek/0000%20WEBDAV/WebDAV%20StatContent.bixml
National Association for the Education of Young Children. (n.d.). Steps in Making a Bill a Law: The Federal Legislative Process. Retrieved from http://www.naeyc.org/policy/federal/bill_law