How Health Care Reform is Helping America’s Nurses
and Keeping their Patients Healthier
Nurses know better than anyone why health insurance reform was so desperately needed. They see
firsthand the heartbreaking consequences when insurance companies defer treatment or deny coverage.
They know that insurance premiums and prescriptions can consume a family’s entire budget. Every day
they interact with patients who couldn’t afford to see a doctor and had to go to the emergency room for
something as simple as a sore throat.
President Obama knows nurses play an essential role in our health care system, and thanks to the new
health care law, nurses are gaining new tools and resources to help them help their patients. Here are just
a few of the ways health reform is helping make nurses’ jobs easier and their patients healthier:
• The new health care law takes power away from insurance companies and gives it back to doctors,
nurses and other health professionals. It is ending the worst insurance company abuses, like refusing
to cover people with preexisting conditions, placing annual and lifetime caps on families’ coverage and
canceling people’s insurance when they get sick and need it the most. That way, Americans can make
health decisions based on what their doctors and nurses are telling them—not what their insurance
company says it’ll pay for.
• Thanks to the new health care law, nurses won’t have to watch their patients skip or postpone important
check-ups—such as immunizations and health screenings like mammograms or colonoscopies—because
they cost too much. That’s because insurance companies will have to cover the cost of the preventive
services recommended by experts—and patients won’t have to pay anything out of pocket. This lets
nurses do their job of keeping people healthy, instead of treating them only when it’s too late—when
they’re sick or their condition gets worse.
• The new health care law helps fix America’s critical nursing shortage by attracting more students to
nursing. College students’ federal loans will be forgiven after ten years if they make their payments and
decide to pursue nursing as career. Nursing schools are getting help to promote career advancement
within the field, and students who decide to teach nursing can get some of their loans forgiven too.
There are also new incentives for nurses to enter primary care, which by 2016 will help more than
12,000 more Americans become primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants.
• The new health care law brings more primary care to underserved communities, including rural and
urban neighborhoods. It’s helping build new community health centers and expanding preventive and
primary health care at existing centers. That means health centers in these underserved communities
can serve nearly twice as many patients.
• Thanks to the new law, nurses will get to spend more time focusing on patients and less time worrying
about paperwork. The new law simplifies insurance company paperwork and encourages the use of
electronic medical records.