With Congress failing to pass the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA), it is a good time to examine the impact this will have on the healthcare sector. After spending years overseeing the sometimes messy and expensive transition to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), hospitals, insurance firms and other organizations tied to the healthcare industry faced the prospect of starting over if the AHCA had passed. Now that it appears Obamacare will remain the law of the land, these stakeholders have greater certainty about the future of healthcare in America.
The Implications of Keeping Obamacare
Following the high-profile implosion of the AHCA, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that Obamacare would “stay in place moving forward.” Some moderate Republicans refused to endorse the AHA as it was projected to lead to significant coverage losses.
The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that up to 24 million Americans would lose coverage under the AHCA, largely due to less generous subsidies. Moreover, the legislation would have effectively eliminated tax penalties for not maintaining coverage, in favor of an additional fee that would have been assessed at the time insurance coverage was purchased following a lapse.
Although the relative merits of Obamacare and its would-be replacement can be debated, insurance and pharmaceutical industries have a great deal more certainty moving forward. These sectors saw stocks soar in the wake of the AHCA rollout, when it appeared that the issue of health reform would finally be resolved, leaving much of the existing Obamacare architecture in place. Now with even greater certainty at hand, investors are likely to be equally enthusiastic.
The Effect on the Healthcare Jobs Market
Without a doubt, the healthcare industry is driving job growth in the United States. Nearly one-quarter of all jobs created in 2016 were in the healthcare sector. Those numbers outpaced job growth in 2015, a year that saw historic industry expansion.
Given the shifting demographics of the United States, job projections for the next decade are even more optimistic. This means that any change in federal healthcare policy—or lingering uncertainty—will have significant implications with regard to the healthcare workforce. Some observers have predicted the demise of the ACA will result in as many as 200,000 job losses in the next 12 months; Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, projected a “somewhat depressed” healthcare jobs market. Much of this slowdown will be the result of businesses exercising caution in hiring due to the uncertain landscape.
Given that Obamacare remains the law of the land (and is likely to do so moving forward), these job losses are almost certain to be avoided. With the politics of healthcare finally achieving some degree of certainty and predictability, job growth should continue unabated. This means recruitment and retention will play an even more prominent role, as firms compete for the best, most experienced workers.
With health care reform failing to even come close to passing Congress, the prospects for future changes seem remote. This certainty will create more growth in an already booming healthcare jobs market. Companies with the ability to source and develop talented employees in this labor market will earn a critical competitive edge moving forward.
Contact us today at Duffy Group, Inc., for more information on executive recruiting in the healthcare industry.