The Affordable Care Act, colloquially known as Obamacare, has been the source of many polarizing conversations since it was signed into law in March 2010. The medical field, like the rest of the country, is divided on whether the law should be repealed, changed, or left as it is. With a new administration taking over the White House and Republicans remaining in control of Congress, it’s a certainty that there will be serious changes to the ACA, but it’s currently unclear what those changes are going to look like, particularly for those working in the medical profession.
As medical professionals, no matter our stance on the issue, we’re all certainly concerned with what changes to the law could bring to our job security and earning potential. There is much discussion that an appeal of large proportions could bring the job growth that nursing and other healthcare professions have seen in recent years to a grinding halt. Others are looking for layoffs if the repeal creates a situation where there is a severe rise in patients being unable to pay for care.
While we’re all more or less waiting to see exactly what the repeal and follow up plan turns out to be as a variety of ideas and options are being thrown around as the next step in repeal, there are a few things that you can do to help prepare yourself and your patients for what is to come.
- Check into your own personal coverage and how it could potentially be affected by the repeal of the ACA. If you are working for an employer who added in coverage for certain things like birth control or other services because they were mandated, you may want to have a backup plan in the event that coverage is dropped in the future.
- Make sure that your training and certifications are up to date and that your job performance is at the top of your game. We all hope that things will not come to a point of job loss, but making yourself indispensable to your workplace is always a good plan.
- Stash some money aside for emergency situations. Putting aside a fund in case of reduced hours or job cuts is a smart move when there is some uncertainty about the future. Additionally, medical savings funds have been talked about as a potentially large change to the law, so beginning to build up a savings base could be helpful.
- Reassure your patients. Many of them may have concerns about their personal healthcare if pre-existing conditions are excluded from coverage under reform. Stay on top of the latest developments and possibilities so that you can help your patients to understand how it may affect them, should they share their concerns with you.
- Make your voice heard. If you have thoughts and opinions on what your Congress representatives should do, be sure to contact their offices and share them. Their position is to serve you as a constituent, so make sure that you are voicing your opinions on how they should do their job.
While things could be tense and uncertain for a time, preparing yourself and staying informed is the best way to weather whatever comes our way as the new administration begins to reform the ACA regulations.