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Health-Care MBAs See Brighter Future

Health-Care MBAs See Brighter Future

Dan Macsai | BusinessWeek

Looking to sidestep the gloomy job market? Consider getting an MBA in health management.

Recent findings from Moody’s Investors Service indicate that President-elect Barack Obama’s health-care proposals, if enacted, could galvanize the industry. The plans, which call for expanding the availability of health insurance and reducing health-care costs, could also increase demand for health-care management jobs.

“If more people have health insurance, more people can get non-emergency service and hospitals can better cover their costs,” says Lisa Goldstein, a senior vice-president at Moody’s who has analyzed the health-care industry for 18 years. “This is an attractive time for students to consider careers in health management.”

A Renewed Enthusiasm

In the U.S., health care is a $2.26 trillion industry—comprising about 15.2% of the U.S. economy—and it continues to grow. According to the U.S. Health & Human Services Dept., the health share of gross domestic product is expected to reach 19.5% by 2017, up 4.3% from its current share. Larger hospitals, such as Northwestern Memorial in Chicago and Stanford Hospital in Stanford, Calif., individually have revenues exceeding $1 billion.

Yet many argue the system is flawed. In his plan, Obama pinpoints several chief shortcomings: Health insurance premiums have doubled in the past eight years, rising nearly four times faster than wages. One-quarter of all medical spending goes to administrative and overhead costs. Roughly 100,000 Americans die every year from medical errors in hospitals. And more than 45 million Americans lack health insurance altogether.

In other words, “the demands on our health-care system and the demands for strong health-care management have never been greater,” says Gary Mecklenburg, the former president and CEO of Northwestern Memorial HealthCare, the parent corporation of Northwestern Memorial.

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