The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that is also known as Obamacare is aimed at reducing the cost of healthcare and increasing its accessibility. However, this set of policies can present significant difficulties for nurses who may have to face several ethical dilemmas because of new requirements.
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One of the risks that researchers identify is that many hospitals become underfinanced, yet, the influx of patients will increase (Miller, 2010, p. 33). As a result, nurses will not be able to pay equal attention to the needs of patients. This issue becomes even more important given that America faces a significant shortage of skilled nurses who do not want to work in medical institutions (Aiken, 2007, p. 1299).
Thus, nursing professionals may be forced to choose between two or even more patients. Some of them may not receive the help that they need as soon as possible.
As a result, nursing professionals may have to violate the first provision of their professional code according to which the nurse must “respect the inherent dignity, worth, and uniqueness of every individual, unrestricted by considerations of social or economic status” (American Nurses Association, 2012, unpaged).
This is one of the ethical issues that should not be overlooked and nursing professionals do not want to confront such situations.
There is one conflict that may be associated with Obamacare. As it has been said, this legal act is aimed at reducing the cost of healthcare, but this strategy can potentially impair the quality of patient care. It should be noted that nurses and physicians may be asked to operate within a certain budget (Eddlem, 2010, p. 14).
The problem is that such limitations on the budget may prevent a nursing professional from practicing evidence-based medicine (Eddlem, 2010, p. 14). The main problem is that the performance of a nurse may be assessed according to its cost-efficiency, but not the patient outcome. As a result, medical workers may not be able to provide the care that patients need.
The main law that will affect healthcare institutions is the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The main purpose of this legal act is to raise the quality of healthcare and reduce the costs related to patient treatment (Newman, 2010, p. 1). However, this legal act does take into account the risks of budget limitations that restrict the decisions of a healthcare professional.
Yet, nurses should also adhere to the principles outlined by the American Nurses Association. In some cases, ethical principles and the necessity to reduce costs are not compatible with each other. So, medical workers will have to reconcile their ethical principles with new professional requirements.
Overall, the attempts to reduce the costs of healthcare should be related to administrative costs, but they must not affect the work of nurses or physicians. They should be able to take decisions that best fit the needs of a patient, rather than budgetary requirements. In this way, they can help medical workers avoid ethical dilemmas. They will not have to discriminate between patients.
Therefore, policy-makers should take into consideration the complexity of the healthcare system. The initiatives that the government implements are supposed to address the rising cost of healthcare. However, this policy affected the work of nurses and physicians. This is the main drawback of Obamacare.
Aiken, L. H. (2007). U.S. Nurse Labor Market Dynamics Are Key to Global Nurse Sufficiency. Health Services Research, 42(32), 1299-1320.
American Nurses Association. (2001). 2001 Approved Provisions. Web.
Eddlem, T. R. (2010). Outcome of Obama Care: Obama’s healthcare law has stiff costs and consequences, including less care, skyrocketing insurance premiums, likely national insolvency, and unchecked government powers. New American (08856540), 26(10), 10-15.
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Miller, C. (2010). Stand And Fight. New York: Xlibris Corporation.
Newman, D. (2010). Accountable Care Organizations and the Medicare Shared Savings Program. New York: DIANE Publishing.