End the Turf War and Put People First

Dec 28, 2011, 1:00 PM, Posted by Denise Bottcher

As we head into 2012, the Human Capital Blog asked Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) staff, program directors, scholars and grantees to share their New Year’s resolutions for our health care system, and what they think should be the priorities for action in the New Year. This post is by Denise Bottcher, Communications Director, AARP Louisiana, which is the non-nurse co-lead for Louisiana’s Action Coalition, a part of Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action.

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What is your New Year’s resolution for the United States health care system?

Right now Louisiana–like the rest of the nation—is facing a shortage of primary care physicians. And it’s not projected to get any better any time soon. It just makes sense that we remove the barriers advance practice nurses face so that we can expand access to high-quality care so that we can keep our population healthy.

As the nation grows older, the demands for health care increase. Managing chronic conditions and staying healthy are chief concerns for older adults and the people who care for them. So what’s the excuse for not allowing highly trained educated nurses play a larger role in meeting the needs of patients? It’s time we end the turf war and put people first.

What do you think should be the highest priority for action in the New Year?

Whichever side you’re on, I think Americans are ready for the United States Supreme Court to rule on the Affordable Care Act. Along with the economy, the new health care law continues to be one of the most hotly contested debates among radio talk show hosts, elected officials and voters. It’s not surprising that when you talk about the benefits of the new law–coverage for pre-existing conditions, preventative coverage, and eliminating red tape–everyone supports it. It’s only when you talk about the mandate to purchase insurance that the debate begins. I’m ready for the U.S. Supreme Court to settle the debate once and for all. Let’s get on with it.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Human Capital Blog. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the authors.