Boom In Healthcare Growth Could Be Double-Edged Sword
As the nation continues to rebound from recession, it’s the health care industry that has continued to lead the recovery, boasting steady job growth figures and offering promising career opportunities for professionals at all career levels. Despite the optimistic figures, however, some experts are concerned that rising costs and government regulation may put a damper on the long-term outlook for the healthcare industry.
According to the National Journal, the number of health care jobs — including those in hospitals, nursing homes, and doctor’s offices — has increased nationwide by 10.5 percent since December 2007. As the American population ages, the demand for quality health care has followed suit, thereby helping to spearhead industry growth. Hospitals are now the second largest source of private sector jobs in the U.S., according to the American Hospital Association, which estimates that “U.S. hospitals employ 5.5 million people and create $2 trillion in economic activity every year.”
While industry insiders like Charles Roehrig, director of Altarum’s Center for Sustainable Health Spending, consider the health sector surge as a kind of “stimulus program” that continues to generate jobs and money, he’s also worried that once the economy begins to recover, it will quickly become necessary to reduce spending in the sector, or suffer a backlash that could negatively impact the health care industry, and other industries as well.
For one, the sector growth is contributing to higher spending costs for those receiving health care, leading many Americans to become bankrupt in these challenging economic times. The massive growth in the health care sector has also contributed to higher costs for domestic labor and, according to the National Journal, “crowded out other government priorities” such as infrastructure or education.
Furthermore, changes in the health care system, including The Affordable Health Care Act, could impact the industry by creating a new demand for even more health care workers, while decreasing salaries for those same employees.