Late last week the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported U.S. healthcare lost 1.4 million jobs in the fourth month of 2020. The prime culprit was, of course, the new coronavirus.
Reactions were quick to come in from experts sought out by major media outlets. Here’s a sampling from some of the best thinkers on healthcare economics. (Read the linked articles to see each quote in context).
‘It’s really, really uncertain. The most we can say is if things recover quickly, the medical sector will be fine. If they don’t then all bets are off.’
—David Cutler, Harvard economist, as reported by Harriet Torry and Melanie Evans in the Wall Street Journal (“Health-Care Workers See Steep Job Losses From Coronavirus”)
‘It’s clear there are going to be serious financial consequences for hospitals and health systems.’
—Aaron Wesolowski, MBA, vice president of policy, research, analytics and strategy for the American Hospital Association, as reported by Venessa Wong at BuzzFeed News (“Hospitals Expect To Lose More Than $200 Billion Because Of The Coronavirus”)
‘A very huge question here for everything is how much of this is going to come back, in healthcare and in everything else. There’s too many unknowns. We’re all just guessing at this point.’
—Ani Turner, MS, economist with nonprofit research firm Altarum, as reported by John Tozzi at Bloomberg News (“Health-Care Industry Loses 1.4 Million Jobs in Pandemic”)
‘We have a great opportunity ahead of us, but I don’t see us making any progress [against the high cost of healthcare]. I think we’ll go back to business as usual.’
—Amitabh Chandra, PhD, Harvard health economist, as reported by Margot Sanger-Katz in the New York Times’s “Upshot” section (“Why 1.4 Million Health Jobs Have Been Lost During a Huge Health Crisis”)
‘If there is a silver lining in [Friday’s] dismal jobs report, it is in the realization that the economy cannot possibly get any worse than it is right now. Joblessness can only diminish from this point forward as many states start reopening.’
—Chris Rupkey, CFA, chief economist at MUFG in New York, as reported by Lucia Mutikani at Reuters (“Coronavirus deals U.S. economy Great Depression-like job losses, high unemployment”)