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Benefits of Healthcare Jobs Spur Ongoing Debate

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 6, 2012

Is healthcare job growth good for everyone who isn't in the healthcare sector? That's a question I ask just about everyone who's willing to weigh in on the topic.

Anthony P. Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, said in June that healthcare sector cost and job growth are byproducts of an inefficient and fragmented healthcare system. He estimates that by 2020 one-in-five dollars spent in the overall economy will go to healthcare. That's money that will have to come from other areas of the economy.

In addition, he estimates that the healthcare sector will create 5.6 million new jobs, from drug reps to bedside nurses, by 2020.

"There is a dilemma here, and it gets at the root of the healthcare issue in general. We are paying twice what other advanced industrial nations pay for healthcare. They are at 9% of GDP and we are at 18% and headed for 20%," Carnevale said in June. "We've built a huge sector, but the productivity growth has been negative for a while. Our estimates on the productivity growth are basically -1%. In manufacturing productivity is +8%. We are supporting a huge apparatus in healthcare and no doubt there are huge inefficiencies."

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