Reforms are necessary for the improvement of the healthcare system. They affect all the stakeholders in the system, including patients, hospital management, and various medical professionals. The drastic changes in the healthcare system can have beneficial and detrimental effects on all the parties involved. Nurses can be significantly affected by reforms as they work at the forefront of the system. This paper will discuss the upcoming healthcare reform and whether it will benefit nursing practitioners.
Healthcare Reform Proposals
Before assessing the benefits and drawbacks of healthcare reform for the nurses, it is necessary to discuss the existing proposals and their key points. Several leading healthcare reform schemes are being discussed at the moment. They include Medicare for All, changes to the Accountable Care Act, implementing a single-payer system, and utilizing market forces (Buerhaus, 2020). Medicare for All is the core proposal that will propel the reform if it is implemented.
Politicians widely support it, and some of its elements will likely be employed (Levitt, 2019). The proposal will provide all the residents with an option to choose a publicly sponsored insurance (Levitt, 2019). It will be of great benefit for many residents who cannot afford a private insurance plan.
Other significant proposals include installing a single-payer system and, contrastingly, stimulating competition between different health insurance providers. If the first proposal is utilized, the government will assume all financial responsibility for healthcare services (Buerhaus, 2020). It will likely result in the elimination of private insurance plans. It also threatens the eradication of federal and state care delivery programs (Buerhaus, 2020).
On the other hand, stimulating competition can positively affect the quality of care and lead to improvements in the distribution and delivery of medical care through competition among providers (Buerhaus, 2020). Overall, all the proposals mentioned above will significantly impact all medical professionals, the structure of organizations they work in, and their remuneration.
Reform Proposals Potential Effects on Nursing Practitioners
The proposed healthcare reforms can be advantageous for licensed nurses. It is essential to note that nursing practitioners have many areas of responsibility beyond patient care within a hospital environment. They are accountable for the care the patients receive, make choices about hospital resources and their use, and often act as a link to between the patients and other medical professionals (Buerhaus, 2020). Therefore, the proposed reforms will inevitably have a meaningful impact on the nurses’ day-to-day duties. The changes will also affect how they deliver care to their patients and can result in the expansion of their responsibilities.
The exact effects of the planned reform in nursing practitioners are unclear as there are many conflicting proposals. Thus, stimulating competition among the insurance providers will not have the same effect on the system and its stakeholders as the pivot to a single-payer system. The former can lead to nurses being allowed to provide primary care for their patients. The upcoming reform will put more emphasis on them and what they can do for their patients.
The Affordable Care Act resulted in numerous people being able to gain access to healthcare (Bernazzani, 2016). It also emphasized and exacerbated the shortage of qualified physicians (Bernazzani, 2016). It can be argued that as more and more people gain access to healthcare, the shortage of qualified medical professionals can lead to adverse outcomes. Personally, I have experience of waiting for a physician for a long time when a nurse could have easily performed the procedure. As they have extensive training, nurses can deliver the same quality of care as trained physicians (Bernazzani, 2016). However, many restrictions prevent them from providing the increasingly in-demand primary care.
The upcoming healthcare reform may present a solution to the increasing demand for qualified primary care providers. Suppose the single-payer proposal is rejected, and the competition between various insurance plans is boosted. In that case, it can lead to an even higher demand for medical staff who can deliver high-quality care.
According to Buerhaus (2020), several government departments developed the document that proposes and explains the need to eliminate state restrictions on the nursing practice and allow them to work on the same level as physicians. Thus, the greater competition between healthcare and medical insurance organizations can lead to nurses having a new set of responsibilities.
It is unclear how changes in the system will affect the remuneration of medical professionals. If the restrictions that prevent nurses from providing primary care are lifted, there should be financial incentives. Private insurance companies will be able to pay for the patients’ treatment. Thus, there should be no barrier to reimbursement of nursing practitioners at the same rate as physicians. However, if Medicare for All is employed, there can be certain financial difficulties.
Medicare payments “reimburse at amounts that are less than provider costs” (Buerhaus, 2020, p. 62). It potentially can lead to healthcare providers losing money and not being able to remunerate some of its staff, leading to understaffing. Overall, it is crucial to establish how the proposed healthcare reform will be financed and how it will affect the medical staff’s remuneration.
In conclusion, several reform proposals are being discussed at the moment. The reforms will significantly impact all the stakeholders in the healthcare system, including the nursing practitioners. There is a possibility of nurses being allowed to deliver primary care to their patients and have the same area of responsibility as qualified physicians. Depending on what proposals are supported, there will be significant differences in the way nurses are remunerated. It is essential to discuss the financial compensation of medical professionals before the approval of the reform.
Bernazzani, S. (2016). How healthcare reform is impacting primary care. AJMC. Web.
Buerhaus, P. I. (2020). Demystifying national healthcare reform proposals: Implications for nurses. Nursing Economic$, 38(2), 58-64.
Levitt, L. (2019). Medicare for All or Medicare for More? JAMA, 322(1), 16-17.