Friday, February 8, 2019

Nursing Shortages Will Put California's Plans for Universal Healthcare on Hold: New at Reason

By Reason Staff - February 08, 2019 at 07:30AM

Based on his inaugural promises, early administrative appointments and first budget, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is preparing to make some type of universal healthcare coverage the centerpiece of his administration. It is unclear if he will take the single-payer route or focus mainly on expanding access for the state's residents to various state and federal healthcare programs, including Medicare.

Whatever one thinks about the wisdom of expanding medical care in this manner, it's clear that demand will increase for medical services. That is the economic reality whenever a highly sought-after service is subsidized, and therefore offered to more people at a discounted price. That means more pressure on the existing system of medical care and a growing need for the services of people who work in the healthcare field.

In particular, Newsom's proposals—whatever their final details—will exacerbate a long-running problem that California policy makers have thus far failed to address: The state's growing shortage of nurses. A 2017 report by the National Center for Health Workforce Analysis, a project of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, predicted the need for registered nurses to grow by 28 percent by 2030 largely because of an aging population and an aging workforce. Many states are on track to keep up with the demand, but not California, writes Stephen Greenhut.

View this article.

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