Four Hiring Boosts from the Health Care Bill
During the final round of speechifying before last night’s historic vote on health care, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi made the claim that the health care bill would also act as a jobs bill, creating four million jobs over the next decade. While it’s a claim Pelosi has made before, it’s one that has received surprisingly little attention in the media, given some of the plot points that have emerged over the past 14 months (death panels, anyone?).
According to Politifact, Pelosi’s statement is “half true”—while the site found that the bill likely will increase employment over the next decade, it suggests that “Pelosi is cherry-picking the most optimistic number” to arrive at her figure of 4 million. Regardless, the consensus seems to be that there will be job creation as a result of the bill. The main question, then, is where.
People with “an entrepreneurial spirit”
Another Pelosi quote from Politifact suggests that job growth won’t be restricted to the health care sector—if indeed it sees any net gains at all. Rather, she suggests that the economy as a whole will benefit from the changes in the bill:
“Imagine an economy where people could change jobs, start businesses, become self-employed, whether to pursue their artistic aspirations or be entrepreneurial and start new businesses, if they were not job-locked because they have a child who’s bipolar, or a family member who’s diabetic with a pre-existing condition, and all of the other constraints that having health care or not having health care places on an entrepreneurial spirit.”
The consulting industry
Wherever there’s regulatory change, there’s work for consultants. Look at the surge in business following Sarbanes-Oxley for an example. And HR consulting outfits should be at the top of the food chain on this one. Expect sudden interest in services from the likes of Towers Watson, Hay Group and Hewitt Associates. Also keep an eye out for management and strategy consultants being called in to help the insurance firms figure out how to adapt to the changes.
Yup, you read that sub-head right. Sure, the bill might be aimed at curbing some of the worst excesses of the health insurance industry, but the New York Times points out that it’s also “giving the health care industry as many as 32 million additional paying customers in the next few years.” Is there an industry that could add millions of customers without having to take on employees to help deal with them?
On a similar note, the Times also points out that hospitals and drug manufacturers are set to see an increase in the number of people who have access to their products and services—so expect some job growth in both of those areas as well.
The Wall Street Journal points out that working parents have a lot to gain too: “Health insurance has increasingly been the tail wagging the dog in many households–the first consideration in deciding who, if anyone, stays home with the kids. Regardless of what parents want, the person with health-care benefits is usually the one who works.”
Of course, getting rid of that concept of being tied to a job because of insurance isn’t exactly the same thing as creating jobs, but it may well result in more people taking exactly the sort of chances outlined by Pelosi above. It might not be about job creation, but it does allow more people to exercise career choice–and that has to be a good thing.