The last legislative chapter in the Health Care debate came to a commencement when the House passed, for the second time, a package of fixes to the bill that President Barack Obama had signed, on March 26. This monumental decision will change many aspects of health care system in the United States. Not only will it affect the millions of Americans who are in need of medical care and insurance coverage, but will also influence employment opportunities in health care—especially careers in the nursing profession.
Specifics on the Health Care Act
Many Americans lack basic health care coverage through a third-party payer. Under the Health Care Bill, more Americans will be eligible for coverage through a new public insurance plan or a revision of Medicare. Providing this coverage will allow more people to access the health care system to receive both preventive and health maintenance services. Providing these services will decrease the number of costly emergency department visits and—in turn—improve the health of the overall population.
As part of the Heath Care Bill, more people will have access to preventive care. Patients can be screened for illnesses that are easily treated at early stages. Diagnosing and treating illnesses at this stage generally provides for a more favorable outcome. People will be able to access education aimed at improving their health and decreasing the chances of developing a chronic illness.
Unfortunately, there are insufficient numbers of primary care providers to meet the needs of all the newly insured, however; nurses are uniquely suited to meet this demand. Family nurse practitioners, adult nurse practitioners, and pediatric nurse practitioners can provide primary care to meet the increased demand and that care comes at a more affordable cost to the patient and the third-party payer.
How the Health Care Bill will Help Employment Prospects in Nursing
Nurses will adapt to the changes of health care legislation and will continue to provide quality care to patients. The passing of the Health Care Bill is one strong contributor to the increasing need for more nurses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses is expected to grow by 22 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. An expected 581,500 new jobs are expected to be created in this decade time span, among the largest number of new jobs for any occupation.