What Does Obamacare Mean For Nurses?

With President Obama winning another four years in office, the question is being asked: ‘What does ObamaCare mean for nurses?’

Well, the short answer is quite a lot and it’s all good news for nurses.

Registered nurses (RNs) and physician assistants (PAs) stand to benefit enormously from President Obama’s crusade to overall the United States healthcare system.

ObamaCare – or more correctly the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) – was signed into law by the President on March 23, 201o. The controversy has continued ever since.

ObamaCare received a big boost on June 28, 2012 when the United States Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of most of the PPACA in the court action of the National Federation of Independent Business versus Sebelius.

ObamaCare Is Here For Good

Now that the Democrats have won another four years in office, ObamaCare will remain on the statutes and in force. The most critical year for ObamaCare is 2014, as that’s when the bulk of the law’s provisions come into effect. Another 32 million Americans will become fully insured and entitled to receive medical care.

In the long term, this is going to be a big loss for doctors and a big win for nurses.Doctors are already becoming increasingly annoyed and frustrated at what they believe are the low reimbursement rates from Medicare and Medicaid. Doctors have not received any increase in their Medicare reimbursements for more than a decade, even though their costs to provide care go up every year.

Once you factor inflation into the equation, it’s resulted in a 20% pay cut for them during that period. The situation has become so serious that an increasing number of doctors now refuse to even see patients who are in Medicare and are no longer accepting either Medicare or Medicaid patients.

It is believed that with Obama winning another four years in office as many as 20% of doctors and physicians nationwide will now start looking for another job in healthcare. They want to still practice medicine but would rather have a hospital, medical clinic or another doctor who owns their own surgery handle the administrative paperwork. Incredibly, some 20% of doctors may even walk away from medicine altogether.

So that begs the question: Who is going to provide the additional health care that millions more Americans and a rapidly aging Baby Boomer population is going to require now that ObamaCare is here to stay?

The answer: Registered Nurses and Physician Assistants.

In fact, it’s already happening. For years now, nurses have been quietly undertaking greater roles and more responsibility in hospitals and medical clinics. The scope of nursing responsibility has increased enormously over the past decade as the pool of family doctors providing neighborhood care has shrunk year by year. There has also been a concerted push for more community health care clinics across the country as part of a drive to look after America’s aging population close to where they live and work.

Nurses Stand To Benefit More Under ObamaCare

More nurses are now also working completely on their own in many poor inner-city neighborhoods and rural communities where doctors in private practice are few and far between. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that registered nursing is going to be one the fastest growing professions in America until 2025. With this growing need for more nurses comes better opportunities and huger salaries too.

The average salary for a registered nurse in 2009 was $63,750, or $30.65 per hour. That had jumped to $67,720, or $32.56 an hour, just one year later in 2010. That’s about a 6 percent increase in a bad economy when millions of Americans were just thankful to have a job. And there’s no reason why they wont just keep going up now that ObamaCare is here to stay.

A recent survey of nurse practitioners in emergency departments discovered that on average they earned $104,549. This sort of money that is not far off what a family physician is earning without any of the overheads. So although doctors may not like what’s happening in America’s healthcare system, RNs and PAs see a totally different scenario. They see opportunity and are quickly stepping in to fill the void.

Some people are saying that ObamaCare is going to have an adverse effect on healthcare for the average American. But with today’s nurses getting some of the best nursing training available from high quality nursing school and online nursing programs, others see it as a step forward for equality. For too long now, nurses have worked in the shadows of highly paid doctors while shouldering a lot of the responsibility anyway.

ObamaCare might just be the moment nurses seize the day and prove once and for all that they have the knowledge, dedication and ability to step up to the mark and take American healthcare into a new era. Only time will tell. But ObamaCare is here for good and the shake-up the American healthcare system has started.