Back in 2010, Barack Obama passed a federal statute known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA, often referred to as “Obamacare,” has been the most significant overhaul of US healthcare since Medicaid and Medicare were enacted in 1965. The goal of the ACA was to improve access to healthcare and combat rising healthcare costs. Some applauded it as a step in the right direction, while others viewed it as government overreach.
Six years later, we’ve seen some significant changes. How has the ACA affected nurses? Whether or not it’s been a success, the ACA has certainly led to change. Here are some of the relevant parts of the ACA that directly impact us.
Changes in Nursing Education & Nursing Workforce
There are several relevant sections of the ACA that specifically affect nurses. The following is a partial list of ACA statutes that affect nursing the most.
- Section 5207. Section 5207 of the Affordable Care Act increases funding for the National Health Service Corps (NHSC), extending the authorizations of appropriations for the Core through 2015. For 2016 and beyond, the statute establishes a formula for funding that scales according to increasing healthcare costs and the number of people living in areas with a shortage of healthcare professionals. By September 2013, there were 1591 NSHC APNs.
- Section 5210. This statute reorganized the Public Health Service Corps (PHSC) into two new divisions: a commissioned Regular Corps, and a Ready Reserve Corps that would serve during national emergencies. The Ready Reserve Corps are also available for assignment to underserved communities.