The passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 granted millions of Americans access to healthcare markets that were previously unavailable due to cost or denial of insurance coverage. The bill represented a fundamental transformation of healthcare delivery in the United States, but similar changes were not to be found in healthcare education markets.
That disparity is the subject of new research from Dr. Marcus Dillender, assistant professor of health policy and administration at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Public Health. His article, “Does the healthcare educational market respond to short-run local demand?” published in the Economics of Education Review, found healthcare degrees did not rise with expansion in health insurance coverage, even among specializations.
“There was this idea that the Affordable Care Act was going to cause this frenzied need for additional healthcare workers,” Dr. Dillender said. “As a whole, education markets are responsive to local demand, but with Medicaid expansion, this isn’t a free market.”
Dr. Dillender notes healthcare settings can accommodate an increase of patients in a variety of ways: physicians can work more hours, use of telehealth can increase and healthcare education markets can adjust, among other possibilities. Healthcare settings may have excess capacity to accommodate a patient influx.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on March 06