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Healthcare Policy and Nursing: Affordable Care Act

The health care sector as a core element in the life of a society of any country in the world and it needs constant improvement. The task of health care administration and government is to establish an appropriate strategy of medical sector development to meet the requirements of the time. As a system, health care embraces various ranges of responsible organizations and professionals who cooperate for the further advancement of the industry. The primary aim of their work is to guarantee valid medical services on both prevention and treatment levels. There are many policies and low initiatives introduced for the implementation in the healthcare system that involve nursing as a powerful unit capable of initiatives’ practical enactment.

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American Nursing Association’s Position on Healthcare Policy and the Role of Nursing in It

Medical organizations develop scientifically-based programs and policies addressing actual problems and trends in the field. The American Nurses Association (ANA) is one of the most prominent organizations of such type. In its practice and policy description, ANA indicates its vision on primary goals the modern healthcare sector in the USA has to achieve. ANA’s position on healthcare policy lies in the idea that “the policy makers and agencies whose decisions will affect patients” are responsible for proper implementation (American Nurses Association, n.d., para. 3). The priority of any healthcare policy, according to ANA, is the well-being of the patients which is possible to accomplish through the efforts of all the participants in the medical system.

However, the most crucial role in this system is devoted to nursing. Nurses “have a key voice in ongoing efforts to improve public health” and lead the developmental movement inside the medical sector putting the initiatives into action (American Nurses Association, n.d., para. 2). Thus, ANA puts effort to ensure that the nurses as the leading participants in the process of healthcare policy enactment occupy a significant position in it and can influence the process from within.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was introduced in 2010 as an initiative aimed at reducing the number of uninsured citizens in the USA, improving the healthcare system in the country, and promoting self-care and prevention of illnesses. It underlines “primary care, funds community health initiatives, and promotes quality care” (Lathrop, & Hodnicki, 2014, para. 1). The systematic change targeted by this initiative imposed a subsequent change in the approach to the organization of work inside the medical sector, as well as the preparation of qualified specialists.

The Intended Impact on Patient Outcomes

According to ACA, its primary goal is to satisfy the demand of the patients to have affordable and safe medical care for the realization of the ultimate aim which is good health status of the US citizens. The anticipated outcomes of the introduced policy for patients include maximum insurance coverage for the population of the USA and reforming of the existent measures in medical care for the subsequent overall improvement of the healthcare services (Lathrop, & Hodnicki, 2014). Within the framework of ACA provision, the preventive programs were introduced, the level of insurance increased (especially in the states that fell under the expansion) (Courtemanche, Marton, Ukert, Yelowitz, & Zapata, 2018). Therefore, the implementation of the low initiative has a positive impact on patient outcomes.

The Intended Impact on Nursing Practice

Following the aims of ACA to expand the number of insured patients, the medical institutions have to be ready for the increased workload. That is why some analysts suggest that such a wave would have negative effect on the effectiveness of nurses’ performance (Anderson, 2014). However, the enactment of ACA presents nurses an opportunity “to take a leadership role in offering primary care and strengthening preventive services” (Lathrop, & Hodnicki, 2014, para. 4). Nursing is taken to the higher level of influence within the system due to the promotion of the nursing staff’s active participation in scientific and practical work.

A Nurse as a Stakeholder in ACA

When employing ACA in my practice, I would act as a stakeholder in this initiative due to the variety of opportunities and responsibilities given to nurses by the policy. According to the description of the particular features of ACA, it allows nurses to establish the reforming actions in their everyday work by promoting self-care, prevention of illnesses and performing their services for the significant number of patients. The success of the implementation of the whole system depends on the responsible performance of each nurse in particular.

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The Perspectives of Nurse’s Involvement in ACA

The massive practical fulfillment of the strategic steps on the way to final enactment of ACA implies the active involvement of nurses on the different levels of the medical system. It provides multiple perspectives for both the development of nursing as a sector in healthcare and the individual professional growth of every specialist in the field. Therefore, since every nurse influences the general direction of the policy carrying out, they may contribute some scientific innovations and service approaches to improve the well-being of the population.


Concluding the discussion of the nursing role in health care policies, it is essential to underline that the American Nurses Association emphasizes the importance of nurses’ involvement in health policies. Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as a healthcare improvement initiative addresses multiple steps aimed at increased insurance and promotion of self-care among the US citizens for the improvement of their health status. The nurses as the active participants in the process of the policy implementation are given a scope of responsibilities and opportunities to contribute to the overall positive outcomes.


American Nurses Association. (n.d.). Health Policy. Web.

Anderson, A. (2014). The impact of the Affordable Care Act on the health care workforce. Web.

Courtemanche, C., Marton, J., Ukert, B., Yelowitz, A., & Zapata, D. (2018). Early effects of the Affordable Care Act on health care access, risky health behaviors, and self-assessed health. Southern Economic Journal, 84(3), 660-691.

Lathrop, B., & Hodnicki, D. (2014) The Affordable Care Act: Primary care and the doctor of nursing practice nurse. The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing, 19(2). Web.

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