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3 Key Areas Where Obamacare Is Causing Job Shortages

The Affordable Care Act is just beginning to become reality, and already, the effects on the health-care industry have been profound.

As Obamacare makes insured medical care accessible to millions more Americans, a nascent shortage of doctors -- and a worsening scarcity of nurses -- is permeating the entire health delivery system. Add in a dearth of professors qualified to teach nursing school courses, and you've got a demand for jobs that should be a real boon to anyone looking for a well-paid career in the health-care field.

Who will care for the newly insured?
As millions more enter the health-care system under Obamacare, the nationwide physician shortage of approximately 20,000 is slated to get much worse. Other factors putting pressure on the number of practicing doctors is an aging population -- including scores of physicians who will be ready to retire soon, as well.

Source: Tulane Public Relations

Population increases, in addition to Obamacare's emphasis on primary care, will create a need for over 50,000 more general-care physicians by 2025. Some of this demand can be filled by nurses, particularly nurse practitioners. This does nothing to alleviate the shortage of nurses, who, much like doctors, are also in demand, and whose ranks are stretched painfully thin. Some estimates say there will be at least 1.2 million licensed practical nurse and registered nurse jobs available by 2020.

Unfortunately, there are also fewer professors teaching the courses necessary to train nursing students. Nationwide, more than 75,000 would-be nurses were spurned in 2011 because of the instructor shortage.

High-paying jobs with real growth potential
What do some of these in-demand health-care jobs pay? Quite a lot, generally, and with the need for such positions growing day by day, job opportunity and security are practically assured.

For instance, some nursing-school applicants rejected because of space concerns are being steered into related fields that are also experiencing growth, such physical therapy and nutrition. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, physical therapists, who generally need a doctorate for licensure, earn nearly $80,000 per year, while nutritionists are paid over $55,000 with just a bachelor's degree.

Some feel the instructor shortage is because those who teach can make more money in practice than in the classroom, something that may spur increases in nursing school faculty salaries. In California, new nursing faculty averaged close to $71,000 annually in 2011, nothing to sneeze at, certainly.

Nurse practitioners make more than $85,000 in a college or university setting, and well over $90,000 per year in hospitals and doctors' offices. Registered nurses make around $65,000 with an associate's degree, and licensed practical nurses are paid over $40,000 with one additional year of schooling after high school.

Physicians face the longest educational and training demands but are well-rewarded for their work. Median annual income in 2012 for a doctor in family medical practice, for instance, was more than $207,000.

It appears that many are heeding the call to enter the medical profession. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, applications to and enrollment in medical schools last year increased by 6.1% over the prior year, beating the record set in 1996. As a profession with guaranteed future growth, medicine is tough to beat.

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Read/Post Comments (6) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On January 26, 2014, at 6:27 AM, vancelogan wrote:

    It's common knowledge in the Nursing profession that "those that can perform bedside nursing, do. Those that can't ( do bedside nursing) teach". Its an oxymoron that the very people that can't do the job are getting paid to "teach" students to do that job. Therefore when these students graduate and arrive at the hospital their concepts of the job/duties required to care for sick patients are not reality oriented. A lot of remedial education and demonstrations are required before the new students can be considered "safe".

  • Report this Comment On January 26, 2014, at 6:54 AM, ColJack wrote:

    The author has many valid points, but his biggest mistake is in the first full paragraph -- "As Obamacare makes insured medical care accessible to millions more Americans". Better stated - "As Obamacare makes subsidized medical care accessible to millions more poor Americans, and insured medical care unaffordable for many middle-class Americans"....

    Then the rest of the article is just dandy.....

  • Report this Comment On January 26, 2014, at 7:05 AM, tristinstone wrote:

    I know Odumaszz care is a law. But cant another president come in and make a law to outlaw this one?

  • Report this Comment On January 26, 2014, at 7:10 AM, HoustonBlazerDad wrote:

    So what we have here is proof positive the mantra much heralded by the right of "the U.S. has the best health care system in the world, so why mess with it", in the lead up to implementation of ACA was really an oxymoron, and a system with the intent to only care for the privileged.

  • Report this Comment On January 26, 2014, at 7:24 AM, tristinstone wrote:

    Here are the 3 areas most effected by Odumaszz care= 1=U 2= S 3= A

  • Report this Comment On January 26, 2014, at 8:48 AM, Spanview wrote:

    There are also fewere Physical Therapists: the ones who help your pain and your strength and balance when you need it. Fewer jobs, less pay. Why spend 7 years getting a doctorate (required now) to make less money and have fewer benefits than ever before? Cutting benefits for the elderly to "help" the young. Good plan!

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Foolish financial writer since early 2012, striving to demystify the intriguing field of finance -- which, contrary to popular opinion, is truly what makes the world go 'round.

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