Entering into the medical profession has always meant a solid, stable career with a steady and steadily-increasing paycheck. Being a healthcare professional also means you can take your career anywhere in the world, as the practice of healing people isn’t dependent on external influences the way other vocations are. However, Obamacare has greatly changed the way the medical field works, and would-be healthcare administrators have new things to think about.
One of the concerns facing med students is paying a huge amount for med school, and then graduating without the past assurance of a giant paycheck. Obamacare means everybody has to have health insurance, but that will cost patients money. As an alternative, patients may turn towards Medicaid to save themselves money, but that means less reimbursement for doctors because Medicaid doesn’t give as much money as regular fee-for-service does.
Nurses and Nurse Practioners
The fear of more doctors opting out of practice because careers may not be as lucrative as they once were is good news for nurses, as they’ll be called on a lot more to help out. Forbes even cites a research paper from RAND Corp. that says “an expansion of patient-centered medical homes and ‘nurse-managed’ health centers ‘could help eliminate 50 percent or more of the primary care physician shortage’ in the U.S. by 2025.”
If more doctors voluntarily phase themselves out, that’ll open the doors to medical assistants to take on a larger role in the healthcare field. Medical assistants can usually be found in primary-care offices, and they’ll be expected to handle appointment scheduling and basic medical tasks, like taking vital signs, obtaining medical histories, and preparing blood for lab tests.
Dentists and Dental Assistants
Obamacare doesn’t extend to dental benefits, as patients will have to take care of that themselves (but costs are typically a lot less than for other medical services). However, the Affordable Care Act will bring dental insurance to about 3 million kids in the next several years, and there’ll need to be an increase in the number of dentists and dental assistants to deal with the load, as well as an aging population that will add to it.
Pharmacists and Pharmacy Technicians
More healthcare coverage will mean more people getting prescription medication, and that means there needs to be more people behind the counter to get the job done. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians handle patients’ prescription medication needs by organizing and doling out meds, as well as going over side effects, (contra)indications, and other things to watch out for.
As Obamacare is still relatively new, it’s a little too soon to tell what kind of long-term effect it will have on the healthcare field and for those entering it, but it still remains a very viable industry to enter.