The Affordable Care Act: An Overview

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The legislative enactment of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has been the single most significant healthcare policy reform in the U.S. since the inception of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. The ACA’s initial goals were robust and have grown in systemic healthcare aim since. However, the ACA is not without its growing pains, including rising plan costs and declining coverage among many states (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS], 2022a). 

The ACA serves to provide quality cost-effective care while augmenting growing healthcare disparities and broader coverage for all Americans. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic employment layoffs and loss of health insurance, the number of ACA-covered Americans has soared to an estimated 35.8 million, with 22 million enrolled in ACA-covered Medicare expansion plans (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation [KFF], 2017; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS], 2022b). With growing patient enrollment in ACA plans, nurses must be informed healthcare leaders, having the knowledge to assist patients about ACA, how it works, and its impact on patient care.



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Course Description

The legislative enactment of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), has been the single most significant healthcare policy reform in the U.S. since the inception of Medicare and Medicaid in 1965. The ACA’s initial goals were robust and have grown in systemic healthcare aim since. However, the ACA is not without its growing pains, including rising plan costs and declining coverage among many states (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS], 2022a). 

The ACA serves to provide quality cost-effective care while augmenting growing healthcare disparities and broader coverage for all Americans. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic employment layoffs and loss of health insurance, the number of ACA-covered Americans has soared to an estimated 35.8 million, with 22 million enrolled in ACA-covered Medicare expansion plans (The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation [KFF], 2017; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services [HHS], 2022b). With growing patient enrollment in ACA plans, nurses must be informed healthcare leaders, having the knowledge to assist patients about ACA, how it works, and its impact on patient care.



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