Healthcare costs are soaring in the United States today. More people than ever before are uninsured or underinsured. In 2006-07, there were 46 million people uninsured (Gulley, Rasch, & Chan, 2011), and 9 million children also did not have health insurance (Coddington & Sands, 2008). A change in how healthcare is managed and financed is greatly needed to avoid worsening of this situation.
The cost of healthcare and the number of uninsured individuals has become a critical issue today. Healthcare spending in the U. S. has grown faster than the economy, by about two to three percent per year since the end of World War II (Brown, 2009, p. 1). If nothing changes, Medicare will cost as much as the sum of all federal income taxes in about 75 years (Brown, 2009, p. 2). Healthcare premiums have become so unaffordable, that many families do without. The lack of insurance has a direct effect on poor health outcomes, increasing morbidity and mortality, which also contributes to increased healthcare costs (Coddington & Sands, 2008, p. 1).
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), also known as Obamacare, was signed into law on March 23, 2010, and the Supreme Court made a final decision to uphold the law on June 28, 2012 (U. S. Department of Health and Human Services). The PPACA is an attempt at healthcare reform by expanding public coverage programs and strengthening protection for consumers in public and private insurance plans (American Nurses Association, 2010). The plan aims to give more people access to affordable healthcare and offer nurses more opportunities to lead and contribute to the delivery of healthcare with a focus on wellness and prevention rather than sick care (American Nurses Association, 2012).