Last week, more than 5,000 nurses participated in a conference call with First Lady Michelle Obama and Mary Wakefield, PhD, RN, FAAN, the administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration. The call focused on the role of nurses in educating the public about the Affordable Care Act. After sharing the personal experience of her daughter’s meningitis and the impact of the nurses who provided her care, Mrs. Obama went on to describe details of the Affordable Care Act:

“…insurance companies can no longer discriminate against kids because they have a preexisting condition.  Patients can no longer be dropped by their insurance companies because they get sick.  People suffering from a serious illness like breast cancer can focus on their treatment because they no longer have to worry about hitting their lifetime limit on coverage.  And college kids and young adults just starting out on their own can now get coverage through their parents’ plan.”

“And some of the biggest new changes and benefits are the reforms that deal with preventative care…Things like mammograms, cervical screenings, colonoscopies, childhood immunizations, prenatal and new baby care, high blood pressure treatment, all of these are included in new insurance plans with no deductable, no copay, no coinsurance, nothing.”

Mrs. Obama is calling upon nurses to “spread the word” of these changes and educate our patients and the public. You can read the transcript of the teleconference as well as the American Nurses Association's highlights of the newly enacted provisions of the Affordable Care Act for more information.