Election Year Woes: Has Obamacare Impacted the Nursing Profession?

By Carol Trehearn

Ever since back in those early days when President Obama made a huge push for the Affordable Care legislation there has been a great deal of controversy as the nation split into two camps. On the one side there were those who, like President Obama, felt that every man, woman and child has a right to healthcare and on the other side there are those who believe that healthcare shouldn’t be a social program.

The most vocal critics said that Obamacare wouldn’t be financially feasible and that it would put the country in even greater debt than it was already in. Several years in, five to be exact, the debate is still raging. What will this do during an election year and will Obamacare have anything to do with the decisions voters must make come the first week in November?

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A Look at the Plus Side of the Issue

On the plus side, all Americans now have the right to affordable healthcare and those who can’t afford health insurance are being covered by federal funds. Now everyone has a right to care no matter what their gender is and whether or not they can afford to pay for it. The government is subsidizing those who don’t have the financial means to pay the even higher cost of insurance.

It had been the hope that having health insurance would keep the indigent out of ER, thus freeing doctors and nurses to deal with life and death emergencies, whilst those suffering from such things as colds and flus would go to their primary physician.

What Critics Are Saying

If it had been the hope that the workload in the nations ERs would lighten up, those hopes were not realized. It is unclear why but Emergency Rooms are still as busy as ever, if not busier. With a shortage of doctors, more patients are being seen by nurse practitioners with a masters of science in nursing and physician’s assistants who can also prescribe medications and do many of the tasks M.D.s and D.O.s can do.

This is the ‘proof’ critics need to blame Obamacare and it’s all about money. Doctors are now making less money due to strict cost control established by Medicare and Medicaid and so they are leaving the profession by the droves. Old doctors are simply retiring and with the allure of a high paying job no longer realistic, fewer young men and women are seeking to become doctors.

The Impact on Nursing

With a shortage of doctors, more and more nurses are seeking a master of science in nursing which does give them a higher income but does not speak to the nation’s need for more doctors. As a result, there are those who are pushing for a requirement that nurses go even further, getting their doctorate in the nursing sciences field. Doctors and insurance companies are just not making the money they once had and this is significantly impacting the type and amount of services consumers are getting.

In other words, nurses have had to step up to the plate, going further in their education than they ever thought they would need to although you won’t hear complaints from them.

Only Time (and the Voters!) Will Tell

Based on the fact that Obamacare is still a partisan issue, how much weight the Affordable Care Act holds in the eyes of the voters may impact the outcome of the November election. Those who see a financial drain are likely to vote Republican but those benefiting from the ACA will most likely vote Democrat.

When November rolls around, it will be interesting to watch the exit polls to see just what an impact, if any, Obamacare had on the decisions voters made. The one fact is clear however and that is the shortage of doctors said to be the result of the ACA has led to more nurses furthering their careers and that’s a very, very good thing.

About Retire Early Lifestyle

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired three decades ago at the age of 38 and began traveling the world. As recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel, they have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk shows and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement (Your Simple Path to FIRE) and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
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