Politics and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Politics and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

As a nurse, how often have you thought to yourself, If I had anything to do about it, things would work a little differently? Increasingly, nurses are beginning to realize that they do, in fact, have a role and a voice.

Many nurses encounter daily experiences that motivate them to take on an advocacy role in hopes of impacting policies, laws, or regulations that impact healthcare issues of interest. Of course, doing so means entering the less familiar world of policy and politics. While many nurses do not initially feel prepared to operate in this space effectively, the reward is the opportunity to shape and influence future health policy. Politics and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

The Assignment: (1- to 2-page Comparison Grid; 1- to 2-page Legislation Testimony/Advocacy Statement)

Part 1: Legislation Comparison Grid

Based on the health-related bill you selected, complete the Legislation Comparison Grid Template. Be sure to address the following:Politics and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Determine the legislative intent of the bill you have reviewed.

Identify the proponents/opponents of the bill.

Identify the target populations addressed by the bill.

Where in the process is the bill currently? Is it in hearings or committees?

Is it receiving press coverage?

Part 2: Legislation Testimony/Advocacy Statement

Based on the health-related bill you selected, develop a 1- to 2-page Legislation Testimony/Advocacy Statement that addresses the following:

Advocate a position for the bill you selected and write testimony in support of your position.

Describe how you would address the opponent to your position. Be specific and provide examples.

Recommend at least one amendment to the bill in support of your position.Politics and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act


Regardless of political affiliation, individuals often grow concerned when considering perceived competing interests of government and their impact on topics of interest to them. The realm of healthcare is no different. Some people feel that local, state, and federal policies and legislation can be either helped or hindered by interests other than the benefit to society.Politics and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

The suppliers of legislative benefits are legislators, and their primary goal is to be re-elected. Thus, legislators need to maximize their chances for re-election, which requires political support. Legislators are assumed to be rational and to make cost-benefit calculations when faced with demands for legislation. However, the legislator’s cost-benefit calculations are not the cost-benefits to society of enacting particular legislation. Instead, the benefits are the additional political support the legislator would receive from supporting legislation and the lost political support they would incur as a result of their action. When the benefit to legislators (positive political support) exceeds their costs (negative political support) they will support legislation. (page 27) Politics and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

Source: Feldstein, P. (2006). The politics of health legislation: An economic perspective (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Health Administration Press.

To Prepare:

Review the Resources and reflect on efforts to repeal/replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Consider who benefits the most when policy is developed and in the context of policy implementation.

Post an explanation for how you think the cost-benefit analysis in the statement from page 27 of Feldstein (2006) affected efforts to repeal/replace the ACA. Then, explain how analyses such as the one portrayed by the Feldstein statement may affect decisions by legislative leaders in recommending or positioning national policies (e.g., Congress’ decisions impacting Medicare or Medicaid). Politics and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) sets in motion a wide range of programs that substantially affected the health system in the United States and signify a moderate but important regulatory shift in the role of the federal government in public health. This article briefly addresses two interesting policy paradoxes about the ACA. First, while the legislation primarily addresses health care financing and insurance and establishes only a few initiatives directly targeting public health, the ACA nevertheless has the potential to produce extensive public health benefits across the United States population by improving access to health care and services and reducing cost. Essentially, the ACA does not take the explicit form of a public health law but instead strives to advance public health indirectly through its effects. Second, while the ACA does not establish a right to health – or even a right to health insurance – in the United States, it does set in motion a number of significant structural and normative changes to United States law that comport with the attainment of the right to health. Most significantly, key provisions of the bill are designed to improve availability, accessibility, acceptability, and quality of conditions necessary for health, and to prompt the government to respect, protect, and fulfill these conditions. These developments mean that, to a degree, the United States essentially has undertaken the same types of legal and policy steps that a country would be required to take to uphold the right to health without actually recognizing the right to health in any formal or legally binding way. Despite these dual paradoxes and the upside potential for public health improvements resulting from the ACA, the public health impact of the law remains uncertain and will be decided by numerous subsequent regulatory and implementation decisions. The ACA authorizes multiple federal agencies to engage in rulemaking, a process that will largely dictate the systemic and health impacts that will become its legacy. This reality opens up ample opportunity to bolster public health aspects and interpretations of the law, and to simultaneously augment the corresponding components of the right to health Politics and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.


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