The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), commonly known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare, is a landmark healthcare legislation passed in March 2010. This legislation encompasses a wide range of reforms aimed at improving access to healthcare, enhancing quality of care, and reducing healthcare costs. As a healthcare professional, especially as a nurse, it is important to understand the impact of this legislation on nursing practice. In this essay, we will explore two key nursing provisions outlined in the American Nurses Association’s “Key Provisions Related to Nursing” summary and discuss how these provisions have influenced or will influence the field of nursing.
The first key nursing provision focuses on increasing access to care by expanding Medicaid eligibility and creating Health Insurance Marketplaces. Under the ACA, Medicaid eligibility has been expanded to include individuals and families with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level. This expansion in Medicaid coverage has had a significant impact on nursing practice, particularly in states that have chosen to adopt this provision. Nurses, as frontline healthcare providers, have witnessed an increase in the number of patients seeking care as a result of expanded Medicaid eligibility. This has led to higher patient volumes in healthcare settings such as hospitals, clinics, and community health centers.
The increased number of Medicaid beneficiaries has placed added demands on nursing staff, requiring them to adapt to the changing healthcare landscape. Nurses have had to provide care for a more diverse patient population, some of whom may not have had regular access to healthcare in the past. This has necessitated nurses to possess strong cultural competence and the ability to effectively communicate with patients from various backgrounds. Additionally, nurses have had to develop strategies to efficiently manage their time and resources to accommodate the increased patient load.
Moreover, nurses have been playing a crucial role in assisting patients in navigating the newly created Health Insurance Marketplaces. These online marketplaces provide individuals and families with a platform to compare and purchase health insurance plans. Nurses have been involved in educating and guiding patients in understanding their healthcare coverage options, explaining the benefits and limitations of different insurance plans, and helping individuals enroll in suitable insurance plans. This provision has expanded the scope of nursing practice beyond direct patient care, empowering nurses to serve as advocates for patients’ healthcare needs and rights.
The second key provision to be examined is the emphasis on preventive care and wellness promotion. The ACA has placed significant importance on preventive services by requiring insurance plans to cover preventive services and screenings without cost-sharing, such as co-pays and deductibles. As a result, nurses’ roles have expanded to include a greater focus on health promotion activities and preventive care services. Nurses are well-positioned to deliver these services, as they are often the primary point of contact for patients in healthcare settings.
Nurses have been actively involved in educating patients about the importance of preventive care, promoting healthy behaviors, and providing vaccinations, screenings, and counseling services. This provision has helped to shift the healthcare paradigm from a reactive model to a proactive one, with nurses playing a fundamental role in preventing or identifying diseases at an early stage.
Overall, these two nursing provisions of the ACA have had a transformative impact on the practice of nursing. By expanding Medicaid eligibility and creating Health Insurance Marketplaces, the ACA has increased access to healthcare for many individuals and families. Nurses have had to adapt to the increased patient volumes, making patient education and advocacy essential components of their practice. Additionally, the emphasis on preventive care and wellness promotion has empowered nurses to take on a more proactive role in healthcare delivery.
In conclusion, the ACA has significantly influenced nursing practice through its key provisions related to access to care and preventive services. Nurses have adapted to the changing healthcare landscape by providing care to a larger and more diverse patient population, assisting patients in understanding their healthcare coverage options, and promoting preventive care and wellness. The impact of the ACA on nursing practice continues to unfold, with nurses at the forefront of delivering high-quality and accessible healthcare to individuals and communities.