WASHINGTON – Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, nurses across the nation want to make sure you get health care for the holidays.
Individuals need to visit the marketplace and complete their health care applications by Dec. 23 in order to gain coverage on New Year’s Day.
Nurses are getting this important message out because they know the benefits and protections that the health care law delivers and they don’t want their patients left out.
Michelle Boyle is a nurse at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. She says many people are getting better coverage at a lower price in the marketplace. And she says many are relieved they will finally have affordable health care.
“Before the Affordable Care Act I have literally walked into patient’s rooms that were praying together because they were just laid off,” she recalls. “They were working on their house, they fell off a ladder and they have no idea how they are going to cover these bills that are just starting to pile up.”
Enrollment figures show that 1.2 million Americans are set to gain coverage on Jan. 1.
As a nurse in Tamarac, Florida, Patricia Diaz says she’s seeing more people coming in for preventive screenings and wellness visits – which are at no cost to the patient because of the health-care law.
She says patient outcomes are improved because illnesses are caught and treated before they become costly and life threatening.
“The costs will go down because we’re not paying for ICU or the emergency room,” Diaz contends. “We’re paying for wellness care, which is a lot cheaper than crisis care.”
Cathy Stoddart works in a colon cancer unit in Pittsburgh and has advocated for health care reform for decades.
She has been on the front lines explaining the benefits and protections of the law to her patients and colleagues.
“This is important as a nurse,” she stresses. “It’s what I set out to do, and I’ve been a part of making this pass and I want to be a part of making it better. I’m grateful that patients have a chance to live and be productive members of society because of the laws that are passed.”
Stoddart says she hopes that the focus of Congress in 2014 moves away from partisan bickering and on to implementing and improving the health care law.
She adds the country cannot move back to the days when insurance companies were in charge and when many people were just a job loss or serious illness away from losing the security of insurance coverage.