The Uncertain Future of Healthcare

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If you’re in college and thinking of a career in healthcare, the current work environment is both exciting and uncertain. Obamacare, and the resultant problems with the rollout, website and conflicting information makes healthcare a risky choice. 

On one hand, the industry should be healthy, with more than 7 million new participants entering the healthcare system through the exchanges and private insurance. With the mandate that everyone has to have insurance of some kind, there will be plenty of customers at every conceivable level and type of healthcare.

On the other side, the healthcare systems will be flooded with new patients, clogging existing practices and making the delivery of healthcare even more challenging. Taking time to talk to a patient after a consultation or getting to know patients and their families will be more difficult when there are two or three times more people with access to healthcare at a reasonable cost.

A recent Forbes article discussed some of the challenges of the ACA rollout. Inflated enrollment numbers and private insurance carriers cancelling policies for private policies that don’t meet the guidelines. Low cost plans are being cancelled, and the plans that are being offered in their place meet the requirements with a hefty price tag. These are challenges in the early stages, but many healthcare providers and insurance companies are concerned about the future of the healthcare system in general.

The U.S. and News Report’s reported that of the 100 Best Jobs for 2013, four of the top five jobs are in healthcare—Dentist, Registered Nurse, Pharmacist and Physician. Healthcare has always been recession-proof, but who can tell what will happen in the future once all the consequences of the ACA are evident. 

A Wall Street Journal article predicted an ominous future for healthcare in, “ObamaCare 2016. Happy Yet?” Some of the predictions? Parents are discouraging their children from going into medical school because the compensation level is dropping. Physicians are making less money, but still have the high cost of malpractice insurance. 

With more patients to see and fewer people entering the medical field, there is a shortage of doctors. Doctors are refusing new patients, retiring or going into what is called concierge medicine, where patients pay for services, like they would buying car or home maintenance. 

Parents used to encourage their children to become doctors and nurses because of the prestige and respect of the profession. It was a lucrative profession, giving those who made it through the years of school and residency a comfortable, even luxurious lifestyle. There are plenty of jobs, but the thrill has gone out of the practice of medicine. The good old days of a private practice, with generations of patients over a long and fulfilling career has changed forever. Or a long career as a nurse, pharmacist, anesthesiologist, or other professional becomes more of a job than a calling. 

Whether or not the predictions are true, the healthcare profession will be deeply affected by President Obama’s signature legislation. Only the future will tell.


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