Supporting the proposed healthcare bill, as a nurse, is unethical. Put aside your political party affiliation and assess the situation as a nurse. I'm not trying to defend the Affordable Care Act, but let's break things down a bit.
Under the proposed healthcare act insurance companies cannot discriminate or refuse coverage based on pre-existing conditions... BUT.... the states will be able to petition for permission to reduce the required coverage, which will in turn give insurance company the loophole it needs. This so called "essential health benefits," will give insurance companies the power to offer less coverage plans, and if you have a condition that requires a higher coverage, you'll have to pay higher premiums according to your needs. If a treatment or benefit is not considered essential, insurers could then impose limits and your out-of-pocket costs will have no caps.
Mental Health awareness is growing in our nation, but it has not reached the Senate. Again, the proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act will hand the power to individual states. If a state chooses to waive mental health coverage, insurers could charge whatever they want. They like numbers, so let's present some numbers... According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 Americans currently struggle with mental health illnesses, that's
about 43.8 million Americans that are in danger of losing coverage due to the fact that their state can deem their health issues non essential.
People over 50 (my dad would kill me if he knew I classified him under the elderly category) with low income are at great risk of losing coverage. That is due to the proposition that insurers would be allowed to raise premiums based on age, and those under the federal poverty line will also see an increase in their contribution to the coverage plan. Under the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the age and income rates will change; for example, a person in their early 20's would contribute about 6.4% of their income, and someone over 60 may have to contribute about 16.2% of their income.
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Provision 3 of the ANA Nurses Code of Ethics; The nurse promotes, advocates for, and protects the rights, health, and safety of the patient. As a nurse we must advocate for the rights to affordable and accessible healthcare for our patients
Provision 8, The nurse collaborates with other health professionals and the public to protect human rights, promote health diplomacy, and reduce health disparities; by voicing concerns about the proposed healthcare bill, we serve this provision by promoting health diplomacy and reducing health disparities.
Provision 9, integrate principle of social justice into nursing and health policy; it is unethical to deny, or descriminate health coverage based on what some may seem as not essential benefits, we must seek social justice in health policies.
The Dude Nurse
Klaus Campos, BSN-RN