Mandating health care
Without more graduates from nursing and medical schools and increased innovation in shared roles and responsibilities among doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals, individuals and families will face longer wait times, greater difficulty accessing providers, shortened time with providers, increased costs, and new frustrations with care delivery. Pent-up demand from those waiting for a plastic card and attracted by the promise of “free” or heavily subsidized services is expected.
Of course, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals want to help people in need, but the sheer logistics of expanded care delivery, the current and growing shortage of personnel, and limited resources will certainly undercut the good intentions of the policymakers who crafted the national health law.
In fact, the “transformational” changes touted by the law’s champions will likely complicate and negatively affect health care workers and their ability to provide care.
These changes will increase regulatory burdens, increase already heavy workloads, reduce payments, impose new penalties, and disregard personal preferences and values.
With the ACA’s estimated 190 million hours of paperwork annually imposed on businesses and the health care industry, combined with shortages of workers, patients will be facing increasing wait times, limited access to providers, shortened time with caregivers, and decreased satisfaction.
The health care workforce is facing increased stress and instability, and a major redesign of the workforce is needed to extend care to millions of Americans.
The ACA will impose additional strains on the health care workforce. Seniors currently account for 12 percent of the population but will account for 21 percent by 2050.
Workers in Minnesota’s health care industry are not mandated by the state to get flu vaccinations, although 18 other states do have this requirement. The move has been met with opposition by the company’s United Steelworker’s union, which filed a lawsuit on behalf of 2,000 of the company’s workers, claiming that some of its members were denied exemption requests even though they had “medical conditions or religious beliefs that make it impossible for them to receive the vaccine.” The local union’s president told the Star Tribune that “numerous” members are upset about the policy and that the company hasn’t made concessions to allow face masks or a mist spray in lieu of needles.
Despite the best efforts of medical professionals and educators to increase the workforce over the past few years, shortages are projected in every health care profession.