Despite Outreach Cuts, Open Enrollment for the ACA Underway

Open enrollment for insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) starts tomorrow, and ends December 15, allowing people half the time to enroll compared with previous years. There is much confusion and misinformation surrounding the ACA, particularly after recent executive orders by President Donald Trump to stop cost-sharing reduction (CSR) payments.

In addition, budgets for ACA advertising and outreach have been slashed by the Trump administration this year, which will inevitably lead to fewer people getting covered.

Bridging the ACA outreach gap.

To help bridge the gap left by the reduction in outreach, advocacy groups such as Get America Covered are reaching out to inform the public about enrollment. And nursing groups such as the American Nurses Association have stated their commitment to informing patients on how and when they can enroll. Below is some information for patients who might be confused about the law and how it currently stands. […]

2017-10-31T11:36:37+00:00 October 31st, 2017|health care policy, Patients, Public health|0 Comments

Why You Need to Know about the Proposed Health Care Plan

Rep. Paul Ryan, Wisconsin/Flickr/Gage Skidmore

AHCA Release Ignites Concerns from Right and Left

The administration’s plan to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was released earlier this week and has ignited a firestorm among Republicans and Democrats alike.

Democrats claim the American Health Care Act (AHCA) will create havoc and hardship for millions of the most vulnerable.

Many Republicans are worried about the plan’s effect on their constituents, while more conservative members of the GOP feel it doesn’t go far enough in repealing the ACA.

While there is a stated push by the new administration to “sell” the plan and implement it quickly to keep campaign promises, legislators in both parties are calling for time to examine the plan and analyze the cost of the plan, which has yet to be determined.

As almost everyone knows, finding a way to provide affordable health care in this country is very complicated and requires a delicate balance of funding by the federal government and states. It’s likely that there will be several changes before a final plan is in place.

What seems to be clear is that the changes coming down the road will have a direct impact on nurses, patients, and the institutions in which we work. Will staffing be cut if states lose federal reimbursements? […]

ANA’s Cipriano, AARP’s Reinhard Comment on ACA’s Undoing

President Obama signing the ACA in 2010/via Wikimedia Commons

Nurses and the Undoing of the ACA

Many in the nursing community supported the Affordable Care Act (ACA) when it was first introduced. This is understandable, given our firsthand experience of patients who didn’t seek care until they were gravely ill because they lacked health insurance. We know how disease management can change outcomes for those with chronic illness and how preventive care can make the difference between having a treatable cancer or a metastasis.

In the years since, as both supporters and detractors continued to argue over the law and its need to be improved (or scrapped, depending on your viewpoint), over 20 million people gained health insurance and access to care.

Now as Congress moves to repeal and replace the ACA with a yet-to-be-determined plan, many are concerned that major gains will be lost and once again it will be the poor and vulnerable who will suffer. (I touched on some of the concerns in my March editorial.)

To get a little more insight, I spoke with two very policy-smart nurses about what might happen and what they feel should happen.

What ANA president Pam Cipriano said:

I asked ANA president Pam Cipriano what she thought was the most critical aspect of the gains from the ACA that need to be preserved. Her answer:

“We must […]

An Oncology Nurse’s Perspective on the Health Insurance Situation

Money Bag/ by Julianna Paradisi/ all rights reserved

Costly Care

I was an oncology infusion nurse in a hospital-based ambulatory center for a number of years, many of them before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in 2010. Besides administering chemotherapy and blood products, I infused medications to patients with sickle cell anemia as well as chronic autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and Crohn’s disease.

The common denominator among these diseases is the high cost of the medications used to treat them, at the time ranging from $3,000 to $10,000 per treatment. I know, because patients told me, their nurse.

I also know because uninsured patients were required to fill out paperwork declaring their lack of income, prior to receiving authorization for charitable treatment. If they were sick enough, they were admitted to the hospital for initial treatment, at more expense than outpatient infusion, until the paperwork was completed and approved.

These were particularly difficult times to be an infusion nurse.

Some patients lost their jobs during cancer treatment, because the cost of their cancer care increased their employer’s insurance coverage risk pool rates.

Other patients worked night shift before arriving, sleepless, for chemotherapy as soon as we opened in the morning. They couldn’t afford to lose their health […]

2017-02-22T14:53:49+00:00 February 22nd, 2017|health care policy, Nursing, Public health|1 Comment

This is What Democracy Looks Like, Nurses Included

Photos by Karen Roush.

“Nursing leaders have called upon all nurses to be heard, from bedside to boardroom and beyond. Not all of us share the same political views, and that is how it should be.”

By Karen Roush, PhD, RN, assistant professor of nursing at Lehman College in the Bronx, New York, and founder of the Scholar’s Voice, which works to strengthen the voice of nursing through writing mentorship for nurses.

On Saturday, I marched with over a million others in Washington, D.C., to protest the policies and rhetoric of the incoming Trump administration, along with millions more who marched in sister protests throughout the world. It was a day marked by exhilarating solidarity, determination, and hopefulness.

People of every age, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation—all the ways you can try to divide people—stood together. Many carried signs and banners: some funny or clever plays on words, many serious messages of inclusiveness or demands for rights and action. Throughout the day strangers exchanged smiles and nods, silently saying to each other yes, look what we’re a part […]

2017-01-24T11:15:20+00:00 January 24th, 2017|Nursing|1 Comment