Sample nursing essay on healthcare policy in the United States
Access to health care
Access to health simply means the eases with which an individual is able to obtain the needed and necessary medical services. When it comes to health care, access is about the appropriateness of getting the right help from the right health care providers at the right time and place. This is a policy of interest to me because it is concerned with helping people to command the appropriate health care services and resources with an aim of improving their health (World Health Organization, 2014).
Adequate supply of services presents an opportunity for the population to obtain health care. The extent to which individuals gain access to health care depends on a number of factors such as financial, social, cultural and organizational barriers which limits the utilization of these services. Access to health care policy is concerned with equity in obtaining these services as measured in terms of availability, utilization and outcomes of health care services. It is an issue of particular interest to the nursing profession because nurses always come face to face with issues that deal with access to services, patient safety, satisfaction, health outcomes and health disparities and advocating for this policy offers them an opportunity of having control over patient care and outcomes which adds a dimension to their professional practice (World Health Organization, 2014).
Specific problem surrounding access to health care
Access to health care is an issue that has posed a challenge to many governments for over 100 years now. Debates have been in place on the best way to provide access to affordable and quality health care for all citizens. Health care is an issue that faces resistance to change because many times, the incentives to change are pointed in the opposite direction. America for instance, has undergone a series of changes in its health care system and delivery which has greatly influenced the access to health care services experienced today. 1939 saw the introduction of group health insurance as an employee benefit which led to the exemption of employer/employee premium from federal taxes. Medicare and Medicaid changes were introduced in 1966 that led to the government being fully involved in health insurance. This led to entitlement programs that increased coverage and access to health care services. The HMO act was introduced in 1974 to address the issue of rising health care costs in the country. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted in an attempt to shake-up the unsustainable health care system by improving the quality and reducing the costs of health care services. Equity is another problem facing this issue. Those with the ability to pay have limitless access while those with no ability to pay have a limited access to health care services. The underlying problem therefore is the issue of quality and cost of health care services (MacKenzie, & Ross, 2013).
There is need for campaign on the affordable care Act law so as to ensure quality and cost controls in the provision of health care services to all. There is no need to change the law of Affordable Care Act. What needs to be changed are the regulatory issues surrounding this law. For instance, regulations concerning penalties to health care providers should be re-examined to ensure that they are not punished for factors that are beyond their control. Research shows that before the enactment of this law, many Americans could not access quality health care due to high costs charged by providers. Many were not eligible to Medicaid especially those who were living under the poverty line but with the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, many were eligible to receive quality services at affordable costs (Sommers, Buchmueller, Decker, Carey, & Kronick, 2013).
Review of the thoughts regarding access of health care policy
Access to health care is a policy that has faced a lot of debate especially in America. It is an issue that has posed a lot of challenges in the health system of the United States. With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act law in 2011, there has been a lot of controversy between the federal states, care providers, health insurance companies and the general public. The American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) argues that no person should be denied access to healthcare services due to their inability to pay or because of inaccessible services. Various studies have been carried out to address the issue of access to healthcare policy. A study by (Sommers, Buchmueller, Decker, Carey, & Kronick, 2013) to evaluate the effects of Affordable Care Act on health insurance and access to care for young adults revealed an increased access to healthcare because of the law with increased coverage for healthcare services which was great for people in poor health conditions. The study found out a significant reduction in the number of young adults who delayed getting care or who did not receive the needed care because of cost issues. Nurses must rise to the challenges that face the healthcare systems so as to make sure policies are developed that can enable everyone to have access to affordable quality care that promotes health (Mason, Leavitt, & Chaffee, 2013).
Health literacy is the key to effective healthcare policy. If access to healthcare policy will see an effective implementation, health literacy is an important aspect as it provides a basic understanding of health information that is critical in making appropriate health decisions. A study by (Koh, Berwick, Clancy, Baur, Brach, Harris & Zerhusen, 2012) revealed that if the federal puts new initiatives to boost health literacy, it will help the nation to move beyond the cycle of costly crisis care.
How to access updates on healthcare policy issue
The current status of this issue can be found in websites of various organizations that are concerned with healthcare policies and issues such as the American Nurses Association. It is a full service professional organization that represents the interests of more than 3.4 million registered nurses in the nation. This organization advances the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, projecting a realistic and positive view of nursing, promoting the rights of nurses and lobbying the regulatory and Congress agencies on health care issues that affect the public and the nurses. Current status of healthcare issues is always updated on its websites (Panel, 2011).
The issue of access to healthcare involves the federal, state and local governments. My immediate target is on the federal level of government because it is the one that controls the other levels of government. It is the federal state that facilitates the formulation of public health policies in collaboration with state and local government together with other relevant stakeholders (Koh, Berwick, Clancy, Baur, Brach, Harris & Zerhusen, 2012).
It is clearly evident from the above discussion that access to healthcare is a priority policy issue in the nursing profession that has significant impact on the health of the nation and should therefore be addressed by the government so as to achieve positive health outcomes through affordable and quality care for every citizen.
Kitson, A., Marshall, A., Bassett, K., & Zeitz, K. (2013). What are the core elements of patient‐centred care? A narrative review and synthesis of the literature from health policy, medicine and nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 69(1), 4-15.
Koh, H. K., Berwick, D. M., Clancy, C. M., Baur, C., Brach, C., Harris, L. M., & Zerhusen, E. G. (2012). New federal policy initiatives to boost health literacy can help the nation move beyond the cycle of costly ‘crisis care’. Health Affairs, 10-1377.
MacKenzie, A., & Ross, F. (2013). Nursing in primary health care: policy into practice. Routledge.
Mason, D. J., Leavitt, J. K., & Chaffee, M. W. (2013). Policy and Politics in Nursing and Healthcare-Revised Reprint. Elsevier Health Sciences.
Panel, I. E. C. E. (2011). Core competencies for interprofessional collaborative practice: Report of an expert panel. Interprofessional Education Collaborative Expert Panel.
Sommers, B. D., Buchmueller, T., Decker, S. L., Carey, C., & Kronick, R. (2013). The Affordable Care Act has led to significant gains in health insurance and access to care for young adults. Health affairs, 32(1), 165-174.
World Health Organization. (2014). The World Health Report 2008: Primary health care (now more than ever).