The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, often known as Obamacare, is a comprehensive healthcare reform passed in the United States to expand access to affordable health insurance. Access to public health insurance has been revolutionized by its spectacular development over the years, with its influence spreading to other states (McIntyre & Song, 2019). The legislation has affected not only patients morally, politically, and culturally but also economically. Additionally, it supports programs that have favorably affected the nursing profession in the United States, such as the Doctorate of nursing practice (DNP). Therefore, this study seeks to comprehend the evolution of the ACA, its effects on the population, and the position and impact of the DNP in all these.
Brief Overview of the ACA
ACA was signed into law in March 2010 by then-President Barack Obama. The legislation offered health insurance policies covering critical health benefits such as maternity, emergency, pediatric, hospitalization, family planning, and mental health services (Silberman, 2020). The health insurance plans also included healthcare programs, such as Medicaid and Medicare, that increased Americans’ accessibility to cheap health insurance. According to Sommers (2020), the legislation also attempted to establish health insurance exchanges that encouraged Americans with pre-existing diseases to get health insurance coverage. The ACA intended to provide premium tax credits and cost-sharing reductions to Americans who could not afford excellent health insurance to minimize spending.
Comparison and Contrast of ACA Changes from 2010 to 2022
From 2010 to the present healthcare landscape of 2022, the ACA has changed tremendously, with significant parallels and variations obvious. The ACA of 2010 and the ACA in the health environment of 2020 have aimed to revolutionize access to, payment for, and delivery of healthcare in the United States. To make health insurance more inexpensive, they have both made it a priority, hoping to surpass the existing health programs (Sommers, 2020). In addition, both the ACA of 2010 and the ACA in the health environment of 2022 have effectively ensured that individuals with pre-existing diseases have access to health coverage.
On the other hand, there are significant variations between the ACA of 2010 and the ACA in the health environment of 2022. The ACA of 2010 was mainly concerned with insuring uninsured Americans. Still, the 2022 health environment ACA is concerned with ensuring patients and delivering cost-effective health care (Silberman, 2020). In addition, the ACA of 2010 did not emphasize lowering hospital readmissions, unlike the ACA of 2022, which fosters the readmission reduction program to minimize hospital readmissions (McIntyre & Song, 2019). To avoid readmissions, the readmission reduction program advocates for Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), which are accountable for the quality and cost of healthcare.
ACA Impact on Patient and Population Outcomes
Healthcare reforms generate ethical arguments that identify and illuminate fundamental concerns impacting ethics, transparency, and cost-efficiency in the health insurance industry. The Affordable Care Act covers moral and ethical considerations influencing access to care, public health, insurance claims, premium payment, and cost control (Ercia, 2021; Sommers, 2020). Besides, the legislation mandates that nurses defend the interests of patients, especially the most vulnerable, present accurate information to patients, and get their informed permission for treatment.
Furthermore, the ACA requires doctors to protect patients’ privacy, work constructively with others, manage healthcare resources appropriately, and promote community initiatives to alleviate the impacts of sickness (Ercia, 2021). The legislation has proper cost management methods, preserving the value of the health care supply. In healthcare, cost containment focuses on decreasing waste, improving data management, and enhancing communication (McIntyre & Song, 2019). In addition, the legislation ensures precise and honest billing processes that result in substantial cost savings concerning the primary ethical concern of distributive justice.
The Affordable Care Act has had a considerable effect on the political conduct and opinions of the general public. Some gain from the provisions of the legislation, those who pay for the advantages, those who support its growth, and those who reject the conditions. During the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, there is an ongoing political dispute that seems to heighten feedback effects. Medicaid requirements estimate models of political behavior, such as greater voter participation in states with adequate access to health care since people are more productive and healthier (McIntyre & Song, 2019). Additionally, the Medicaid expansion has boosted voter registration and participation in recent years, especially in states with additional Medicaid-eligible residents.
The Affordable Care Act has paved the way for economic development and enhanced financial security for the American people. Several provisions of the Affordable Care Act provide individuals access to Medicare programs that decrease excessive payments to health providers (Campbell & Shore-Sheppard, 2020). The incentives encourage new payment arrangements that offer cost savings to patients, hence boosting financial stability as people save money for other priorities. The Affordable Care Act has generated a healthier, more psychologically stable, and more productive workforce, favorably impacting the economy (McIntyre & Song, 2019). By ensuring that patients get excellent treatment, actions under the ACA assist hospitals in minimizing the number of readmissions. Medicare also assures that patients get better home-based care, that individuals live longer, miss fewer work days, and are likely to spend more productive years in the workforce. The Affordable Care Act increases health insurance coverage, protects the ill from financial disaster, and promotes economic security.
The Affordable Care Act has had a cultural influence on the population via marriage and fertility choices. Previously, Americans may get insurance via marriage if their workplace did not cover them and their spouse was insured by their employment. The Affordable Care Act has offered incentives that have altered this societal norm. Numerous young persons have health insurance coverage outside of marriage, lowering health insurance-related reasons to marry (Campbell & Shore-Sheppard, 2020). The provisions of the ACA influence marriages, with some punishing and others rewarding, depending on the party’s income. Individuals are no longer limited in their ability to switch insurance policies due to tax-subsidy schemes covering situations such as divorce (McIntyre & Song, 2019). Additionally, the Affordable Care Act provisions affect family structures, such as fertility, by reducing the cost of childbirth, which may boost fertility. Contrarily, inexpensive contraception decreases fertility since many young individuals can access safer birth control methods.
DNP’s Positive Impact on Patient and Population Outcomes
Commitment to System Solutions
Doctor of nursing practice (DNP) is a prestigious degree program that prepares nurses for direct and indirect patient care via efficient and effective nursing practices. Training nurses in natural patient care, ethics, research, information technology, and the execution of health policy fosters a commitment to system solutions in the health sector (Lehane et al., 2018). The DNP program aims to improve healthcare delivery and enhance patient outcomes by providing competent and devoted nursing care in the health sector (Marrocco & El-Masri, 2019). Complex healthcare systems need prominent nurses dedicated to their nursing practices and patiently caring to provide the most remarkable patient results.
Evidence-Based Leadership Competencies
DNP programs assist nurses in becoming inventive and handling complicated issues in the health sector, opening the way to lucrative leadership roles at the top of the health practice. DNP nurses have more opportunities to engage as autonomous healthcare practitioners and leaders, actively influencing organizational and patient care health policy (Lehane et al., 2018). The nurses are equipped with the skills required to execute changes intended to enhance the quality of health care and patient outcomes. The nurses are exposed to leadership tasks such as supervising younger nurses, managing organizational operations, and executive positions such as chief nursing officers (CNOs). The curriculum prepares nurses to lead with self-assurance, inspire others, and execute solutions to enhance patient outcomes.
Sound Financial Decisions
DNP nurses are exposed to extensive economic knowledge, commercial expertise, and financial acumen. They can learn business skills that promote prudent financial decision-making due to these abilities. Financial management, human resource management, and strategic management are included. Nurses are instructed in financial management to manage yearly budgets, understand financial figures and billing processes, and manage financial resources (Marrocco & El-Masri, 2019). In human resource management, nurses are educated to manage personnel, undertake workforce planning, and establish objectives for staff growth that promote job satisfaction. Nurses can develop healthy workplace conditions and design suitable remuneration schemes. In strategic management, nurses get instruction in establishing goals, carrying out administrative duties, and recognizing market prospects.
In conclusion, the Affordable Care Act has had ethical, political, and cultural effects on patients and an economic impact on people in the United States. Over the years, the act has seen a significant transformation, with its influence recognized across the United States in allowing access to quality and value-based health insurance coverage. Moreover, the ACA has made it possible for programs like the Doctor of nursing practice (DNP) to exist, influencing communities throughout the United States. In conclusion, the act has far-reaching impacts beyond the operation of insurance markets, considerably influencing the health results of the American people.
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