The government shutdown beginning October 1, 2013 affected many areas of American life. Services including national parks and research projects suffered closures and funding disruptions. Negotiations were difficult and often at a near halt in reaching a compromise. Concerns mounted regarding potential damage to the US and the global economy, and fears the US would default on payments. Legislators finally ended this dispute on October 16, 2013.
A key issue in this political struggle is the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA), also known as Obamacare or health reform. My recent book, Economics and Financial Management for Nurses and Nurse Leaders, 2nd ed. provides an overview of the PPACA and its controversial history. Americans began signing up in health exchanges mandated by the PPACA on October 1, 2013 despite efforts from Republicans in the House of Representatives to delay or dismantle this program.
Rather than sitting on the sidelines and feeling powerless, nurses may want to voice their views when a political crisis occurs. Strategies nurses can use as health advocates and American citizens include:
- Write or call their elected officials to communicate their thoughts and concerns.
- Keep informed about political decisions that affect nursing.
- Join forces with other nurses by becoming active in professional organizations.
A final suggestion is for nurses to learn more about health policy and how politics affect health care financing. My recent book, Economics and Financial Management for Nurses and Nurse Leaders, 2nd ed. helps nurses better understand and influence the politics of health spending in their work setting, their community and their nation. Whatever political views nurses support, it is time to become informed and to participate in decisions that affect health care and the health of the US economy.