President Obama's Health Care Reform Plan: What's in it for Nurses?

Nurses have been closely following the healthcare reform debate.

Nurses have been closely following the healthcare reform debate. We anxiously watched the February 25, 2010 summit to learn about President Obama's proposals and were relieved to hear that provisions to increase the supply of nurses and expand nursing education remained in the White House's new plan. The plan, finalized on March 5, 2010, includes funding scholarships and loan repayment programs for healthcare providers as well as grants to colleges that educate healthcare providers. It also provides incentives to recruit and retain public health workers. Some of the other key points of the plan are things that most nurses support, such as stopping insurance companies from refusing to cover people because of pre-existing conditions, regulating health insurance rate increases, close the Medicare drug coverage "donut hole," subsidize health insurance for low-income earners, increase Medicaid reimbursement, expand health savings account utilization, and provide grants for programs that address medical malpractice. President Obama's plan is available online at www.whitehouse.gov.

The American Nurses Association released a statement in support of President Obama's efforts and pledged its assistance in continuing to work with Congress to make health care reform a reality. Nurses as individuals also have been expressing how they feel about President Obama and his proposals. The website NursingLink.com has a webpage titled "Great Things About Obama" and to date, there have been over 1,300 views and 105 posts by nurses, all mostly positive.

Nurses are integral to healthcare delivery and consequently have a vested interest in President Obama's healthcare reform plan. It appears that we're finally moving toward radical change in how healthcare is delivered and paid for. It's about time.