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Healthcare reform is critical to ensuring health care accessibility and quality. The United States has wide disparities in healthcare creating the need for healthcare reform. Millions of Americans are still uninsured, therefore, have no access to healthcare. The Affordable Care Act is a part of the attempts in order to reform healthcare systems and has been instrumental in reducing the disparities in healthcare, increasing access and affordability. The paper is going to discuss the healthcare reform that will solve disparities in access to health services and impact the role played by nurses as primary caregivers.
Healthcare Statistics and Discussion
Americans pay the highest for healthcare compared to other developed nations. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not meet the growing middle and lower class needs. In 2014, Americans spent estimated $3 trillion on health cost. Estimated 11.9% of Americans had no health insurance in 2015. The decrease is an improvement from estimated 12.9% in 2014 and 18% in the last quarter of 2013. According to research firm Gallup, the enactment of the Affordable Care Act has contributed to the increase in demand for health services (Jenny, 2015).
The American Journal of Medicine found that 67% of bankruptcies were caused by healthcare cost (Jacoby and Holman, 2010). Lack of regulation in the healthcare insurance sector was also a major cause of sufferin for Americans who lost their jobs and health insurances. For example, healthcare providers overcharge Americans by more than $10 billion annually (Jacoby and Holman, 2010). Health care reform will ensure that Americans have access to healthcare as well as are able toregulate the industry to end disparities and exploitation.
Advantages of the Affordable Care Act
The ACA will benefit the lower and middle classes by offering affordable health insurance. The act makes it mandatory for all Americans to have health insurance plans. The United States has, therefore, turned to universal healthcare status. Apart from this, the Act regulates the health insurance increasing coverage for children till the age of 26 years. The Act prevents insurance companies from terminating health plans for its participants or increasing health tariffs. Health insurers can not discriminate against Americans with chronic or terminal illnesses (Jenny, 2015).
Impact on Nursing
Healthcare reform is expected to have a huge impact on nursing profession mainly on the role played by nurses, demand and level of training. The demand for nurses is expected to rise as more people access health services mainly in the community. 500,000 nurses are needed in the United States currently and over 1 million will be needed by 2020 (American Association of Colleges of Nursing). The report of the Institute of Mediicine highlighted in 2011 that nurses would impact the quality of healthcare delivery as they would be required to take more advanced roles. Apart from this, healthcare reform is expected to affect the training and education of nurses (Institute of Medicine, 2011). The majority of them have associate and baccalaureate degrees with a few holding masters and doctorate degrees. Advanced Practice Nurses (APN) are in high demand, and will be required to pursue high education to reflect their changing role in healthcare. Finally, the load and role of nurses will greatly increase. Nurses bear the burden of healthcare reforms implementations increasing their work hours, patients ratio and affecting their level of education.
In conclusion, health care reform will get rid of disparities in healthcare witnessed in the United States. The Affordable Care Act is the most effective healthcare strategy launched in the United States. ACA seeks to increase health accessibility and affordability by reducing the cost of healthcare services. Healthcare reform will have a huge impact on the nursing profession including education and role. The increase in the number of people in need of health services will bring to a rise of the load and role of nurses despite the United States experiencing a shortage. The demand for health services is expected to strain the available nurse resources. Nurses will also require advanced education and training to reflect their advanced responsibility in healthcare.