Experts discuss health reform
Alex Toombs | Friday, October 2, 2009
Aon Consulting, in conjunction with the University’s Career Center, held a workshop in DeBartolo Hall Thursday on the effects of healthcare reform upon today’s job market.
The workshop helped guide a concerned audience of students interested in careers in the health care and government relations fields.
Amidst the political strife accompanying the fierce debate coming from both sides of the spectrum, many students in the nursing, pre-med and political science majors are concerned that significant changes potentially caused by new legislation could disrupt their careers before they are even launched.
Aon Consulting representatives Bridget Gainer and Andy Karellas helped advise students on what effects health care reform will have on their chosen professions.
Gainer, head of government affairs for Aon Consulting, relayed the predictions of those currently in the industry to the new prospects hoping for employment in the future. She also gave some welcome advice.
“Work for campaigns, as many as is possible,” Gainer said. “They allow you to make connections, learn a ton and give you good exposure.”
As someone with direct experience on Capitol Hill now working in the government relations department of Aon, Karellas described the convoluted processes by which the health care bill is being crafted.
“The bill will often pass the committees of the House without much problem, getting bogged down mostly in the three committees of the Senate,” Karellas said. “Many opposed to the bill are holding out because they are concerned with the conference stage that comes before it goes to the president.”
Despite the precarious web of committees, subcommittees and conferences the bill has to navigate before it arrives on President Barack Obama’s desk, Karellas was optimistic about the possibilities such legislation could provide for those in both the public and private sectors.
“Positions in the wellness field will boom,” he said. “A healthy workforce is by far more productive than an unhealthy one.”
Gainer said the information-technology specialists would play a large role in establishing electronic health records as a means of simplifying and streamlining the health care process.
The overall attitude of the students who attended the lecture was positive. Senior Sean Rega, who is majoring in economics and Italian, was optimistic for the future of his career path and said there would always be room for risk management personnel.
Senior Juliana Hoffelder, a political science major, agreed.
“I think that the reform will provide a lot of opportunities to enter the government relations field,” she said. “I’d like to get involved in government consulting, and this will make a lot of room there.”
Others had some concerns about the future. Junior Jon Jasinski, a political science and history dual major, expressed concern over private sector jobs.
“Health care reform will probably create a lot of government bureaucracy at the cost of the private sector,” Jasiniski said.
Jennifer Conrads, a graduate student in the new ESTEEM program that blends technology and entrepreneurship, was waiting to see what came of the reform before she decided.