Monopolistic market control depresses healthcare wages

Wages have predominantly flattened or decreased throughout the healthcare industry over the past decade, which in part could be driven by the rapid rate of consolidation.

While hospitals continue to drive the national economy as the leading employers in the industry, employment in outpatient care, where wages are markedly lower, has grown at six times the rate of hospitals and will likely continue to expand, according to new datafrom the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a left-leaning think tank.

Healthcare spending was nearly 18% of GDP in 2015 and accounted for 12.8% of private sector jobs. It was also the only industry that consistently added jobs during the Great Recession, as the sector grew by 20% from 2005 to 2015.

Yet, much of that growth has been in outpatient centers, where wages have fallen about 6% over the past 10 years. Meanwhile, wages have stagnated for hospital workers. 

Providers increasingly look to scale up to spread costs over a wider patient base, accommodate lower reimbursement levels, and adapt to changes in payment models and policy that reward reducing unnecessary variation in care. But antitrust concerns aboundas the industry consolidates, competition wanes, and wages fall, researchers said. 
 

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