US voters sent a shock wave through Washington in yesterday’s election, but the question remains how the results will affect contingent workforce programs, with the future of the Affordable Care Act and the economy ranking as major concerns.
“There is no question that this is the most provocative change statement in my lifetime,” former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt, a Republican, said today at Staffing Industry Analysts’ Healthcare Staffing Summit in Washington.
Leavitt was in a panel discussion today with former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, a Democrat. The discussion was moderated by Staffing Industry Analysts President Barry Asin. It was one venue where contingent workforce executives discussed the election.
One topic covered in the discussion was the ACA — which has helped fuel growth in the healthcare staffing industry.
Leavitt said the Republicans will have to make good on promises to repeal and replace the ACA, but the idea of withdrawing it totally is not likely. The difficult part of the equation will be replacing it, Leavitt said.
There will also be a learning curve for Trump as the first president who has neither served in the military nor in government, Leavitt said. “There’s going to be a collision between the way the system works and the desire to kick the table over.”
Dean said he is bullish on healthcare staffing in general because the US population is growing older and there is a shortage of qualified personnel.
And both Dean and Leavitt agreed the link between employment and healthcare must be broken.
However, Dean said the election marks a big shift. “Politics is a substitute for war,” he said. “What we’ve just had is a revolution.” In addition, Dean said he had concerns about the economy, and if NAFTA is removed it could lead to instability in Mexico.
“My major worry is foreign policy,” he said. “Putin is going to test him almost immediately.”
Others in the staffing industry, outside of the Healthcare Staffing Summit, have also weighed in on the election.
“In the near term, we can expect not much to change, but there will be significant future change in the Affordable Care Act almost undoubtedly,” said Bryan Peña, senior VP of contingent workforce strategies at Staffing Industry Analysts.
The economy is also a concern, although times of uncertainty can prompt businesses to use more contingent workers, Peña said.
“The world expected Clinton to win this election,” said Janette Marx, chief operating officer of staffing supplier Airswift. “But Trump has shown that, on the whole, the American people are looking for change. As always, with change comes uncertainty.”
Marx continued: “For the global energy industry, we do not anticipate feeling an immediate effect, although there is obvious volatility in the world’s stock markets. However, the longer-term outlook primarily depends on whether Trump renegotiates a number of the trade deals and what form those take. How Trump aligns with other countries and opens trade with them will affect the global economy. And this could have consequences for visa and immigration laws, which could impact the recruitment and global mobility industries significantly depending upon new legislation. The result could be a significant disruption to the movement of talent globally which is vital for the energy industry as skilled engineers are needed on various projects at any time. This is a key area that the sector should watch closely.”