You may be aware that on June 16th, the President addressed the the American Nurses Association, which represents more than 3 million registered nurses across the United States. The topic was about how the health care reform affects nurses.

He started out (rightfully so) talking about how wonderful nurses are:

“America’s nurses are the beating heart of our medical system.  You’re on the front lines — (applause.)  You are on the front lines of health care in small clinics and in large hospitals, in rural towns and in big cities, all across America.”

He talks about the Support from the ANA for passing the health care reform.  He suggests that there are positive effects being seen and that the consumer (read patient) now has more “power and protection in the health care system”.

Here are a few things that the President says the reform covers:

  • Children can stay on their parents’ plan until the age of 26
  • Some businesses (fewer that 50 employees) will get a tax cut
  • “relief” for those providing care to retirees that are not eligible for Medicare
  • Insurance companies can no longer drop you when you get sick.

This is great… but are there negatives to this reform?

(obviously the President stayed way from these topics, but they still should be represented here.)

  • It has been suggested that 85% of US Citizens are happy with their current coverage but that the reform will compel you to purchase “approved” insurance, and the IRS will enforce that provision- thus you may not be so happy in the end.
  • It may end up costing the ordinary individual more money. Congressional Budget Office estimates a family of 4 with an income of $54,000 will pay approximately 17% of that ($9,000) on healthcare.
  • The additional tax for larger companies may promote higher cost directly to employees to cover the costs.

The President seems to have taken a hard stand on insurance companies asking them to justify large premium increases.

So much so, there is yet another government office set up for oversight- The Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight. However, the insurance industry has deep pockets and a strong lobby in D.C.  So I pose a question to you:  If the insurance industry is backing down on a few issues that seem to cost them money, don’t you think they are probably making it up somewhere else?

In what ways does this new reform and general attitude shift in health care affect nurses?

Well, now some of your patients are less worried about paying for their healthcare and thus will perhaps more readily come to see you before they are in a critical state.

And for nursing students, the government says they are establishing funding to allow part-time students training as nurse practitioners to start training full-time.

So, I have tried to give you a (very small) taste of the Good and the Bad of the health reform we are facing in the US.  I have tried to stay away from the Ugly!  I dont want to express my direct opinion here, I am trying report both sides, however I do have a strong opinion on this matter.

I am more interested in what your thoughts are.

How do you think the health care reform affects nurses?  Is this a good thing or a bad thing?  Please leave a comment below! (but please be polite about it- this is a heavy issue and it can get quite ugly…)


Filed under: Nursing Information

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