Skip to content

Affordable Care Act

What Does the Health Care Bill Mean to You?

By Kenya V Beard

July 6, 2017

Chronic Conditions

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly half of all adults are living with one or more chronic health conditions and the rate continues to climb. Chances are you or a family member has been diagnosed with a chronic condition that requires medical management. Over 20 million people have diabetes and eight million are unaware that they have this disease. Obesity, which affects one out of three adults, increases one’s risk for diabetes. Individuals with diabetes constitute the largest percentage of patients who experience kidney failure and subsequently require dialysis. Asthma, a more recognizable condition, affects one in twelve people. Asthma is not age specific and children who have asthma were more likely to seek medical attention three or more times in a 12-month period. Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States. To manage hypertension and reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke, some individuals must take up to four medications. The rate of cancer is not too far behind heart disease and over ½ million cancer patients are treated with chemotherapy each year. The effects of chemotherapy beget a new set of health problems.

Chronic diseases are the leading cause of disability and account for most of the nation’s $2.7 trillion annual health care expenditure. How will the health care bill affect you and your ability to manage chronic conditions? Do you know if your premiums will go up or if your pre-existing condition will be covered? Two months ago, the House narrowly passed their rendition of a new health care bill. Although the bill was touted as “political suicide” by

Representative Louise M. Slaughter, Democrat of New York, some were ecstatic about the win. Republican Pete Sessions calls the new health care plan  “The World’s Greatest Health Care Plan Act of 2017”. Initially, President Trump agreed with Mr. Sessions and stated that the bill was “incredibly well crafted”. More recently, CNN stated that Trump switched his position and referenced the House health care bill as “mean”.

With the ongoing polarizing debates about the new health care bill, many are wondering what the bill truly means. To help us better understand the implications of the House bill, Sonja Nesbit, the Senior Government Relations Director at Arent Fox, LLP in Washington DC, explains the basics of the bill. Sonja is well versed on the Affordable Care Act and what Americans stand to gain and lose following an ACA repeal.

Will you be placed in the high-risk group for health care coverage and have to pay higher health insurance premiums? Will you or a loved one have to choose between paying for health care coverage or housing? Or, will you represent one of the several millions who will lose health insurance altogether? Click on the link below to hear Sonja’s brief summary of the bill. She clears up many misconceptions about the bill, describes what it means on an individual level and discusses state implications.

 

 

Kenya V Beard

Nurses raise their voices: “Do No Harm”

By Editorial Staff

June 28, 2017

 

 

This post is written by George Washington University faculty member Joyce Pulcini, PhD, RN, PNP-BC, FAAN, with contributions by Kari Deakins and Jennifer Kanelos, George Washington University School of Nursing students who attended the action. Dr. Joyce is a member of the National Advisory Council at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement.

 

 

On a hot Washington Thursday, June 22, a group of health care professionals and students in white coats descended on Capitol Hill to protest the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA)

 

This new Act would replace the current Affordable Care Act. President Trump was quoted as saying that the House-passed health care reform bill as being a “mean” health insurance bill. The AHCA would leave almost 24 million uninsured. Nurses, physicians and other [health] professionals stood tall at this press conference.  House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, Congressman Raul Ruiz, a physician from California and Congressman Steny Hoyer from Maryland [were] in attendance.

 

The vehemence with which this group expressed their displeasure with the bill was refreshing.  We heard physician after physician speak of the horrors and dangers of having no insurance, the consequences of which we all have seen in many patients who deserve better.  Possible victims include: elderly patients in nursing homes, whose costs represent 42% of the Medicaid dollar (nursing home residents account for about 6% of Medicaid enrollees); women seeking gynecological care; pregnant women whose pregnancy may now be defined as a preexisting condition; children on Medicaid, which covers 40% of all children; and disabled individuals living in facilities covered by Medicaid.  All will be vulnerable. 

 

The [health care] group continued to voice the mantra, “Do no harm” and speakers addressed the harms of this proposed bill would have if passed. Passage of this bill would devastate a population that finally received health insurance through the ACA, after many years of poor or delayed care. Today’s American population is aging.  The proposed legislation would turn the clock back for the elderly, women and children toward failed “uncompensated care” pools.  We spoke of people with conditions that are preventable or curable if picked up under current routine preventive care (“essential health benefits”), which could disappear under the new law by 2019. 

 

GWSON students who attended the briefing share their reactions about attending:

 

Kari Deakins:

As a student it was very inspiring to be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with providers of the interdisciplinary team to share our disagreement with the new AHCA. Our patients will be from many socioeconomic backgrounds in the future, and we must ensure that vulnerable populations are protected. The newly proposed AHCA risks the loss of health care benefits to millions of Americans, the possible denial of future benefits to millions more. It was motivating to listen to our future colleagues and physicians tell countless stories about their patients who would be affected by this damaging legislation. We must be vigilant and active as students to protect our patients and those that who need our help, and as we move into our practice and nursing careers, we must remain proactive in the advocacy of our patients.”  

 

Jennifer Kanelos:

“Participating in the white coat press conference was one of the most inspiring and memorable days I’ve had at GW to date. Gathering on Capitol Hill with nurses, physicians and med students united in the belief that all Americans deserve access to affordable health coverage, left an impact on me that will last a lifetime. From day one, we learn at GW SON to provide patient centered care focused on evidence based research. The facts are unequivocal, denying millions of people health coverage like the AHCA would do, will have devastating results on our ability to provide care for those that need it most.

I am halfway into my nursing education, and something in me has changed for the better. My experience at GW and with patients in the clinical rotations, have given me a new outlook on the world. I see people and our country differently now, and standing among so many providers with the Capitol and Washington Monument behind us, I truly felt like I belonged to something bigger than myself. Energized by the passion and commitment of the speakers and elected officials, I became a healthcare advocate that day. I look forward to a lifetime of speaking out on behalf of my patients, working towards a more perfect union, and maybe even one day asking for your vote”.

We were all there to prevent the devastating effects of the AHCA. We cannot afford to harm the American people with this bill, which would dismantle care that had finally become a reality for so many. As health care professionals we must DO NO HARM!

 

 

Update: On Tuesday, June 27, Senate Republican leaders bowed to pressure from within their own ranks and postponed a vote to overhaul the Affordable Care Act until after the Fourth of July recess. 

 

This post is written by Joyce Pulcini, PhD, RN, PNP-BC, FAAN, with contributions by George Washington University School of Nursing students Kari Deakins and Jennifer Kanelos who attended the action with her.

Editorial Staff

How Knowledgeable are You?

By Kenya V Beard

April 17, 2017

If you had to rate your level of knowledge on a scale of 1-10, how high would you score if 10 indicated extremely knowledgeable? Now, think about all there is to know in the world and again, rate how knowledgeable you are. Did your score change? If it did, don’t worry, you are not alone.

Many people think they know a lot more than they do and offer strong opinions on matters they know relatively little about. Consider how discussions supporting or opposing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could result in adrenaline-raising debates. A brief pause to discuss the details of the ACA and implications of a repeal could silence the conversation or cause greater confusion. In healthcare, a lack of awareness regarding the limitations of one’s knowledge could prove disastrous. So why do individuals tend to overinflate their level of knowledge?

Steven Sloman and Philip Fernbach are cognitive scientists who explain why in their just released, soon to be best seller, Knowledge Illusion: Why We Never Think Alone. The authors state that individuals tend to argue issues based on values and attitudes rather than a deep understanding of details and implications. In addition, information is just so readily accessible it is easy to exaggerate what one knows. The delineation between one’s own knowledge and that which is borrowed is sometimes blurred. Besides the embarrassment of opining on matters that reveal one’s true explanatory depth, the inherent dangers of the “knowledge illusion” could range from damaged relationships and stalled polices to medical errors and plane crashes. So how can a better understanding of the “knowledge illusion” improve safety, lead to less polarizing debates, and spark a more informed discourse?

Steve, a professor at Brown University and the Editor in Chief of the journal Cognition and Phil, a professor at the University of Colorado, will join me on HealthCetera to respond to the above questions and discuss the importance of collective wisdom. Be sure to tune in to HealthCetera on Thursday, April 20th at 1:00 on WBAI, 99.5 in New York City or go to www.wbai.org to stream live. Or, you can listen anytime by clicking here:

 

Kenya V Beard