Healthcare Reform and Nurses: Challenges and Opportunities
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) promises a broader and more important role for nurses the health care system. After decades of advocating for meaningful reform, the American Nurses Association (ANA) joined others in celebrating the signing into law of the Affordable Care Act on Marc;h 23 2010. This is the most significant piece of social legislation since the creation of Medicare, with many provisions that build upon the traditional and current strengths of the nursing profession.
The key features of the ACA states that “nurses have key roles to play as members and leaders for a reformed and better-integrated patient-centered health care system.” These features, plus greater emphasis on prevention and health promotion are among the most significant reforms of the ACA.
The key provisions that impact the nursing profession include
- The Bureau of Labor and Statistics predicts that by 2018, more than 581,500 RN positions will be created in the U.S health system. Even at that rate of growth, experts predict that by 2025 there will be a nursing shortage of 206,000 RNs
- To meet the demand for nurses, the ACA supports nursing education by increase funding of the National Health Service Corps by 1.5 billion over five years.
- Under the ACA, RNs are elegible for scholarships that cover tuition fees, reasonable educational cost and a monthly stipend. The RN loan repayment program will pay 60% of their student loan in exchange for 2 years of service in designated facilities with an additional payment of 25% will be paid for a third year of service.
Nurses have an important role to play in communicating the benefits.
For decades, the American Nurses Association has been advocating for health care reforms that would guarantee access to high-quality health care for all. With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), millions of people have greater protection against losing or being denied health insurance coverage, and better access to primary and preventive services. ANA recognizes the debate of health care is not over, and remains committed to educating the nursing public about how the changing system impacts our lives and our profession.
ANA will continue to deliver nursing’s message, provide resources, develop solutions and take action to ensure the successful implementation of the health reform law while continuing to serve the interests of the nation’s nurses and the patients we serve.