In light of President Obama’s recent speech outlining his plan to create jobs, critics on both sides of the isle question whether or not his plan will be helpful or harmful. Even in unlikely sectors like health care, there is speculation that the Obama bill could be a job killing one. According to industry experts, health care is one of the few sectors that have continued to add jobs despite a persistent economic downturn – about 74,000 in 2010. The problem with the Obama bill is its effect on Medicare and Medicaid.
Impact of Cuts on Healthcare Jobs
Of the previously mentioned is 74,000 healthcare jobs added last year, almost 40% were in the field of assisted living. It is a field which accounts for a fair amount of growth in the overall industry as the American population continues to age. Unfortunately, the vast majority of patients who utilize assisted living do so on Medicare and Medicaid dollars. If the President’s plan is successful in cutting spending for Medicare and Medicaid programs, it could jeopardize the health of many assisted living facilities to the point that they will be forced to close.
Causing further concern is the implementation of universal healthcare beginning in 2014. That law, which was signed back in 2010, may also result in drastic cuts in government medical spending. Hospitals all over the country that depend on government funding for a variety of purposes will have to realign their budgets, forcing them to reduce their workforces. It seems as though a perfect storm may be on the horizon that could spell disaster for the healthcare industry.
The Other Side of the Story
On the other hand, some healthcare industry officials don’t believe the jobs bill will have an effect on healthcare jobs – even if Medicare and Medicaid are cut drastically. They cite the fact that people still need healthcare services, whether or not the government helps them pay for them. Resourceful Americans will find a way to get their healthcare and to make sure it’s paid for. And even in cases when that’s not possible, we are not a nation that allows our people to suffer unnecessarily. As long as there are people, there will be healthcare jobs.
Those who take this view point to countries like Germany and France where governments have realized they need to stop spending so much on healthcare. As a result, private enterprises have begun to spring up to fill in the gaps. And they are hiring.
Despite the potentially bumpy road ahead, health care facilities are continuing to add jobs. As mentioned previously, healthcare is one of the few industries that have continued to grow over the last couple of years, and statistics from the federal labor department indicate that the need for workers will only continue to grow over the next 5 to 10 years. Healthcare jobs will always be available; the only question is what types of jobs they will be. Only time will tell.