The Impact on Healthcare Jobs due to Healthcare Reform and an Aging Population
Jenny Tsang-Quinn M.D. is the Executive Director for the New York Alliance for Careers in Healthcare (NYACH). At NYACH, Jenny is overseeing a project that engages healthcare employers in the analysis of current and future labor force needs and partners with workforce training organizations to meet those needs.
On the 2nd Friday of each month, Jenny will share advice and insight on jobs in the healthcare industry.
Since March 2010, when President Obama signed into law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), we have seen a wealth of activity, challenges, and implementation of new rules. Our country and our country’s healthcare system is busy responding to the ACA.
One important goal of healthcare reform is the extension of health insurance benefits and healthcare to more than 30 million people. Some, like young adults and early retirees are already benefitting from the ACA. By 2014, we expect the majority of the 30 million newly insured patients to participate in the healthcare system. As delivering healthcare services is very labor intensive, the workforce plays a critical role in healthcare reform.
Not only will the healthcare system see an influx of newly insured people, it will also need to take increasing care of the aging “Baby Boomer” generation. The oldest Baby Boomers celebrate their 65th birthday this year and are eligible for Medicare coverage. By 2030, approximately 79 million Baby Boomers will be enrolled in the Medicare Program according to AARP; only 46.6 million Americans were enrolled in the Medicare program in 2010. Also keep in mind that the current healthcare workforce is aging, too. We will need new healthcare workers to replace retiring healthcare workers.
So, just in thinking about the numbers, we will need more healthcare workers to care for more people. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which calculates and publishes national employment projections, agrees. BLS estimates that between 2008 and 2018, 3 million new healthcare jobs will be available in the United States, including 1.6 million new jobs among health practitioners and technical healthcare occupations, and 1.1 million new jobs in healthcare support occupations. According to BLS, the largest increases will likely be seen among physicians, licensed practical/vocational nurses, registered nurses, nursing aides, and direct care workers (ex: home health aide and personal care attendant).
Over the next couple of months, I will use my monthly column on the Workforce1 Career Blog to explore different career opportunities in healthcare and what is needed to succeed. While the healthcare industry is growing, it isn’t for everyone. For those of you considering a career in healthcare, my column will help you think through the opportunities as well as the challenges of entering the healthcare field. For those of you already in the healthcare industry, I will share insight that can help you advance to the next step on your career path. If there are particular occupations or issues that interest you, please send me questions! You can also drop me a note in the comments section below!
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