The future of health care for all Americans hangs in the balance this election. Nurses on the front lines of care see the positive impact of programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and the benefits and protections offered by the Affordable Care Act.
Cathy Stoddard, an RN in Ohio, says she's spent 30 years working to make people healthier, and President Obama, through his leadership in getting health-care reform passed, has created a better future for hundreds of millions of Americans.
"This is the President, this is the time. This is the way America gets healthier. When we have health care as the backbone of our safety net, then people can be productive citizens. But when you put health at risk you are putting an economy at risk, you are putting everything at risk."
And as an RN in Pittsburgh, Michelle Boyle says she's seen lives saved thanks to the free preventive services provided for in the Affordable Care Act.
"There's the difference between staging a cancer at stage 1 treatment and living and enjoying your family as opposed to putting it off and putting it off and putting it off and now you are in stage 4 breast cancer and now that's it, you're gone."
Boyle fears the effect of the Romney-Ryan health-care plan, which would end Medicare and Medicaid as we know them and repeal all the protections of the Affordable Care Act.
Denise Glass is an RN from Miami, and says that without the health-care law, Americans would face increased health-care costs, decreased coverage or no coverage at all. She is thankful that President Obama took the lead and delivered on his promise of health-care reform.
"Forty years from now we're going to look back and we're going to say, 'What took us so long?' Because everybody is going to benefit from this, not just the ones who can afford it. Every person who lives in this country is going to have access to affordable health care."
Since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, 5.3 million Americans on Medicare have saved an average of $635 per year on their prescription drugs; 17 million children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage; 6.6 million young adults have the security of health insurance coverage until age 26; and 86 million Americans have benefited from free preventive services like mammograms for women or wellness visits for seniors.