How Will the Supreme Court's Ruling Affect Healthcare Jobs for Degree Holders?

By Catherine Groux
Posted June 28, 2012 09:56 AM

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld most of Obama's 2012 healthcare law.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld most of Obama's 2012 healthcare law.
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court largely upheld President Barack Obama's 2010 Affordable Care Act, stating that it is within Congress' powers to impose tax penalties on individuals who do not have health insurance. The approval of the centerpiece of Obama's healthcare law came with mixed reviews, as many Americans have viewed the law negatively for the past two years. According to a June 15 poll by the Pew Research Center, about 48% of Americans said they disapprove of the 2010 healthcare law, while only 43% said they supported it.

Still, not all parts of Obama's healthcare law were upheld by the Supreme Court. Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion, said the president's expansion of Medicaid goes against states' rights and therefore could be deemed unconstitutional.

While the approval of Obama's healthcare law marks an important day for Americans as a whole, students may be wondering how the Supreme Court's decision will affect the future job market, especially if they are pursuing a bachelor's or master's degree in a healthcare-related field.

Many Americans believe the approval of Obama's healthcare law will increase the demand for professionals in the industry, as it will give more people access to health insurance. However, a new study by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce shows that, while it is largely difficult to say how the healthcare law will affect the workforce, the industry is growing, and would continue to grow, with or without the law.

According to the report, the nation will need 5.6 million more healthcare workers by 2020, regardless of whether or not Obamacare received approval from the Supreme Court. Additionally, 4.6 million of these empty positions will require postsecondary education, like a bachelor's or master's degree.

The demand for healthcare employees will be especially high in rural areas. Dr. Howard Rabinowitz, a professor of family and community medicine at Thomas Jefferson University's Medical College, said that while 20% of Americans live in rural areas, only 9% of doctors practice there. Therefore, as the nation continues to grow, there will be an increasing need for degree holders to bring their healthcare skills to rural areas.

Overall, because the healthcare industry was already growing so rapidly before the approval of the 2010 healthcare law, the Georgetown study states that the "new effect of Obamacare on healthcare jobs is insignificant."

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