Health Care Reform Impacts the Nursing Profession

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The American healthcare reform is not a new concept, for it has received national as well as global attention and has been the center of debate in policy making since the early 1900s. With each new presidential office, a new policy has been introduced to the American public; some were welcomed and very popular, while others quietly fell apart. It should come to no surprise that with the Obama administration and the Democratic dominance of the United States government, that a new plan was introduced. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) was signed into law by President Obama in 2010, which with time will restructure and rearrange the power of healthcare. It transforms healthcare from “late-stage, high intensity, illness focused, tertiary, interventional health service to a much stronger value driven focus on achieving the highest levels of health” (Porter-O’Grady, 2014, p. 65). Through this act, legislation has been created that regulates the way hospitals and physicians are reimbursed, which is built on evidenced-based, quality healthcare outcomes that are cost effective without infringing upon patient satisfaction. At the heart of this debate is the impact on nursing care, for nursing is the largest healthcare profession as well as the largest component of healthcare costs. Any change in the healthcare reimbursement will greatly affect the nursing practice (Buerhaus, 2010). In order to fully understand the impact of this healthcare reform, one must understand that today’s healthcare has been transforming since the 1900s.
Throughout history, policy makers have debated the benefits and disadvantages of government controlled healthcare. With the industrialization of America in the early 1900s, the general...

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... adjustment for nursing intensity for each DRG. However, once implemented in 1983, all nursing elements were removed (Buerhaus, 2010).
So, over the past 100 years, a trend has surfaced, which shows that the need for health care is rising and so are the costs. Most Americans receive their health care insurance from their employers, while the elderly utilize Medicare and some lower socioeconomic qualify for Medicare. When the government attempts to step in to curve the rising costs for the lower classes, the physicians, hospitals, and private insurances worry that their rights and independence are being compromised. However, with the lack of structure and supervision, the costs continue to soar at the cost of the patient both in quality care and satisfaction. Consequently, affordable quality health care is now on the priority list for the current administration.
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