The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is also known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. It is a form of the United States federal statute enacted and implemented by the 111th US congress and eventually signed by the 46th President Barack Obama on the 23rd day of March 2010 (Healey & Evans, 2015). Nonetheless, ACA’s significant provisions came into force in 2014, and after two years, the uninsured population had reduced to almost half. Therefore, this paper will analyze three vital components of ACA: reducing the costs, improving the quality, and increasing access and how important they are to the APN practice.
Components of the Affordable Care Act and their Importance to APN Practice
The ACA has played a crucial role in transforming the healthcare sector. The federal government also helped in funding the Medicare initiative. In addition, individuals who had no insurance were allowed to obtain it from a private marketplace. The Act is an accurate representation of the United States healthcare system. Most crucially, it facilitated the process of overhauling and expanding healthcare coverage (Fedewa et al., 2019). In addition, the law also brought several changes as it enabled healthcare cost deductions and advocated for improvement in healthcare service delivery. Immediately when it was implemented, the majority of American citizens reduced their overall healthcare spending, which included the premiums for employer-based insurance plans.
Access to Affordable Health Care
One of the components of the ACA that is essential to the advanced practice nurse (APN) is increasing access to affordable health care. Initially, Medicare only produced an increased form of index suspicion concerning healthcare costs and expenses in 1965 (Gan et al., 2019). The ACA advocates for nurses to enhance and continue their innovation skills and transformational leadership. ACA is also responsible for giving all Americans improved healthcare and health coverage through an expanded form of a strong Medicaid program and the new affordable insurance exchanges to enhance and promote quality and affordable healthcare services (La Couture, 2015). Owing to that, it plays a vital role in helping nurses strengthen their commitment toward equity, diversity, and inclusion on the path to discouraging inequality. Hence, it creates a variety of new norms and competencies in this field.
The role of the nurses while interacting with their patients and families in the coordination and provision of centered care to them has also paved the way toward meeting the goals of the ACA. This is possible because it increases the number of people getting healthcare services. This tends to happen as the nurses have a powerful influence over improved care and access to the communities through the board room contributions and, most importantly, policy and decision-making. The actions and roles of the nurses in this kind of position have contributed significantly towards improving and increasing health care access to these societies.
In addition, rebuilding primary care is also essential in increasing access to affordable care. Strengthening primary care expands and increases the number of primary care nurses, doctors, and physicians, making it easier for individuals to gain healthcare services. The government has also implemented a plan of educating and sponsoring nurses and doctors to make it easier for American citizens to egress healthcare services at any given healthcare facility.
Improving the quality of accessing healthcare is another fundamental constituent. It is responsible for increasing education levels and identifying barriers that play a vital role in improving healthcare services. ACA often associates quality with reimbursement; thus, improvement can also be achieved through quality assessment and reporting. It can also be attained through the implementation of laws to prevent patient readmission and the enactment of policies to improve patient safety and mitigation of medical errors. The changes to population health have allowed nurses to practice and perform their duties in line with the advanced and traditional roles.
There is a need for nurses to conduct thorough research before offering services to improve in delivering quality services at lower prices. This should be done with the help of programs that advocate for quality services and emphasize prevention measures. Over the recent years, reimbursement has not yet been entirely successful, especially in improving effectiveness. Therefore, nurses must look at and address matters surrounding patient safety. They must also put into use trust and education learned to curb and create prevention programs for all American citizens from all social-economic groups (Zhao et al., 2020). The nurses also have to learn to use and implement health information technology (HIT) to increase and manipulate extensive data while conducting research. Implementation of this strategy is often associated with improved quality and cost reductions.
The national health cost reduction is also one of the most crucial features of ACA. The first step towards controlling healthcare costs was introduced in 1969 after replacing the Diagnosis Related Group (La Couture, 2015). The DRG was responsible for standardizing the costs of healthcare treatments. One of the ACA’s goals was to standardize and reduce costs, and to a greater extent, it has achieved cost reduction. However, in the US, decreasing healthcare costs remains a priority. The nurses have impacted the national health cost reduction by curbing healthcare wastages and overpricing medications hence enabling the decline in healthcare costs.
State Implementing the Three ACA Components
Several states have fully implemented the ACA that fully embraces all three significant elements. Every State implemented its ACA and took different actions and measures in implementing the market reforms. The changes include matters about coverage for young adults and consumer protections. Seven states, including my State, which is Minnesota, have fully implemented the three significant components. It was implemented by the department of health and human services. In February 2013, the Governor of Minnesota, Mark Dayton, signed the HF9 bill that advocated for the expansion of access to Medicaid Assistance under the ACA.
Implementation of these policies in Minnesota State ensured that all the insurance plans covered wellness, preventive, and chronic disease visits and screenings at much lower prices. The application also enabled the healthcare organizations in the State to prevent, detect or diagnose health complications before they turned out to be emergency issues. Typically, the decision of Minnesota to enact and implement these measures has played a significant role in increasing access and quality to healthcare and reducing healthcare costs.
In conclusion, the Act has played a vital role in transforming the healthcare sector. It has made it easier for American citizens to access quality healthcare services at lower costs easily. In addition, various states have also expanded Medicaid, ensuring that several people are receiving the suitable form of healthcare services correctly and at the right. Therefore, health care facilities must implement the three important components of the ACA.
Fedewa, S. A., Yabroff, K. R., Smith, R. A., Sauer, A. G., Han, X., & Jemal, A. (2019). Changes in breast and colorectal cancer screening after Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 57(1), 3-12. Web.
Gan, T., Sinner, H. F., Walling, S. C., Chen, Q., Huang, B., Tucker, T. C., Patel, J. A., Evers, B. M., & Bhakta, A. S. (2019). Impact of the Affordable Care Act on colorectal cancer screening, incidence, and survival in Kentucky. Journal of the American College of Surgeons, 228(4), 342-353. Web.
Healey, B. J., & Evans, T. M. (2015). Introduction to health care services: Foundation and Challenges. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
La Couture, B. (2015, March). Conflicting Law: Affordable Care Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Zhao, J., Mao, Z., Fedewa, S. A., Nogueira, L., Yabroff, K. R., Jemal, A., & Han, X. (2020). The Affordable Care Act and access to care across the cancer control continuum: A ten-year review. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, 70(3), 165-181. Web.