Obamacare means more and sicker patients entering hospitals, less comprehensive and timely health care

Obamacare means more and sicker patients entering hospitals, less comprehensive and timely health care

As the first enrollees in the Affordable Care Act begin seeking care at my hospital, I wonder how my practice as a Registered Nurse will change. We’re told the goal of the new law is to remodel healthcare in the United States into a system that promotes wellness and prevention, rather than just providing care to sick people. This seems like a great objective, but I worry that the switch may compromise the quality of the care our patients receive.

As a bedside RN working at an acute care hospital in Oakland, California, I care for an incredibly diverse patient population. Most of my patients have had health insurance through employer-based programs, private purchase, or Medi-Cal. Most have interacted with the health care system prior to being admitted to my hospital.

Now, I will take care of patients who are new to health care. Some haven’t had care in a long time (or ever). Some may have pre-existing conditions that enabled insurance companies to refuse them coverage. As they enter my care, their needs may be more complicated.

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