The Affordable Care Act Survives, At Least for Now

July 9, 2012

Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief

Senate roll call, Affordable Care Act/by Kurykh, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s been a couple of weeks now since the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and there have been too many articles and analyses to count. The bottom line is that its fate won’t be settled until after the November elections. If the Republicans win the election, the ACA will become the first battleground, as its repeal has been promised by candidate Mitt Romney.

What is concerning is that a great many people pay attention to the rhetoric rather than finding out the facts (remember “death panels”?). This point was well made by political cartoonist Stuart Carlson in this cartoon. It’s hard not to be in favor of many of the provisions—like extending coverage under a parent’s plan for children up to 26 years of age, or barring insurance companies from denying coverage for preexisting conditions.

As nurses, we need to know the facts and go beyond the political rhetoric. We need to be informed for ourselves (anything that has an impact on health care delivery and funding will affect nursing) and for our patients, who will have questions. Get the facts—read the law at the link above, a summary of the law, or the articles we published summarizing how it will affect nursing (our original article, and a 2011 update, both open access until August 9th).

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  1. Nothing is “free.” We need a way to pay for care that works for those in need. As things stood before ACA those on medicaid could use the emergency room for casual health care needs. “It is all free for me!”. The un-insured patient needed to be cared for but no one was to pay for it. Someone has to pay and so everyone pays in unreasonable charges for simple hospital items. Let’s not expect “free”. Lets hope for reasonable and competent.


  2. Letting kids stay on to 26 and unlimited lifetime expenditure is great, but is it free!!! No. 50% of the country will pay for the other 50% for health insurance, food, housing.


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