Due to recent changes in administration, there are bound to be some changes in the healthcare industry that could affect the job landscape. Some negative, some positive, and some neutral, all we know is that change is afoot and the results remain to be seen.
The largest and most prominent catalyst for change is the replacement of the seven-year-old health care law, the “Affordable Care Act” or ACA. The new legislation that is being proposed to replace the ACA is officially called the “American Health Care Act” or AHCA.
One change that will most likely influence healthcare jobs if the AHCA became law is the elimination of the personal mandate. Previously, the Affordable Care Act made it necessary to have health insurance. Under the proposed American Health Care Act this mandate will disappear, making health insurance optional. This means, obviously, that the amount of people who lack insurance will increase, leading to a lack of demand for healthcare professionals. With a forecasted estimate of 24 million people being uninsured within the next few years, it is almost inevitable that jobs within the industry may decrease.
The AHCA is also calling for a change in the way that pre-existing coverage is determined. Under the proposed legislation, states (instead of the Federal Government) will be deciding what qualifies as a pre-existing condition. This could lead to a few different things. The most important being a possibility of changing the allocation of resources. Because states would be determining what qualifies as a pre-existing condition, jobs may be cut in certain areas, and created in others. This could lead to a huge relocation for some healthcare professionals, which may benefit some people, but not all.
Lastly, one change that will make a positive impact on the healthcare job market is the new state pool that will be provided by states who opt for it. The Patient and State Stability fund does just that – provides stability. It provides stability for insurers with expensive patients. This also allows patients who do not have coverage to fall back on this high-risk pool so that they can be treated. What does this mean for healthcare jobs? It means that certain parts of the industry, such as ERs across the nation, will be receiving more patients who rely on this high-risk pool. This will see a steady increase in demand for workers in these places, which will turn into more jobs in the industry.
There is no saying whether these changes I have mentioned will actually happen. As of right now, the American Health Care Act is just a piece of legislation that is on its way to the Senate to get edited, revised, and (maybe) passed. Until then, these are just speculations of what could likely happen to the healthcare industry job market. One thing is for certain though. As the New York Times put it, “While the government reported Friday that unemployment was at its lowest point on more than a decade, the health care industry has been an engine for much of that hiring, adding jobs at more than three times the rate of the rest of the economy since 2007.” The healthcare industry continues to thrive in America, and as long as patients need care, they will continue to thrive for years to come.