A Severe Healthcare Worker Shortage Persists, Here’s What Congress Is Doing About It.

Senator Bernie Sanders is leading the charge in tackling a sustaining healthcare worker shortage by developing a committee dedicated to alleviating it, and thus far, has garnered widespread bipartisan support to address the issue.

By Brian Scheid | Updated

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When sitting in a Doctor’s waiting room for an appointment that was scheduled for 40 minutes earlier, you start to wonder what is going on here and why did they schedule the appointment for 10:45 instead of 10:00 if I am going to have to sit here and wait. That is one of the symptoms that we suffer through due to a lack of Healthcare workers in this country which impacts all of us on a daily basis. Now we are seeing Congress starting to get involved in coming up with legislative solutions that will help remedy this healthcare worker shortage.

Leading the charge on this issue in the Senate is Vermont’s Democratic Senator and former Presidential Candidate, Bernie Sanders. Sanders became the new chairman of the Senate’s top health committee and he has gotten right to work on this and other pressing issues facing our nation. The shortage of healthcare workers is an issue that is getting worse for our nation for a combination of different reasons. 

One of the biggest obstacles is that we have a nation that is getting older, with the baby boomers now living out their senior years. We also have more healthcare professionals leaving the industry than we have graduates coming out of our universities to fill those vacant spots. It’s a simple math equation more people needing care and fewer people available to provide that service.

That leads professionals that remain in the industry to pick up the slack and do more work. This leads to professionals being burned out by the never-ending workflow.  This, in turn, drives them to search for better pay and less stressful employment opportunities, which depletes the workforce and experience level of those workers. 

Bernie Sanders relayed some data regarding the shortfall the country is facing and this was reported by NPR, “pointing to data that suggest the nation faces a shortfall of about 450,000 nurses and 120,000 doctors in the coming years, and 100,000 dentists now.”

To compound our healthcare worker shortage was the Covid-19 pandemic which stressed our healthcare professionals to their breaking point. They had to work around the clock for months straight to try and keep up with the surge of patients needing care. Some of them even contracted the virus because they were in close contact with the patients, and more than 3,600 died due to the illness. 

Many that survived got severely burned out from the experience and have chosen to leave the industry because of the overwhelming workflow. Bernie Sanders held a committee meeting on the issue and is receiving tremendous bipartisan support from the other members of the committee. He spent the first few weeks in his new post-meeting with all the committee members one on one to discover which healthcare topics have the largest amount of common ground between the two parties.

Both sides of the aisle are excited to get to work on writing meaningful legislation that makes a positive impact on the healthcare worker shortage issue. Senators Tim Kaine D-Virginia, Mitt Romney R-Utah, Roger Marshall R-Kansas, Rand Paul R-Kentucky, and Bill Cassidy R-Louisiana, all have commented and praised Sander’s leadership on this committee and his ability to find common ground between the parties bringing both sides of the aisle together to achieve a common goal. 

We will see what legislation might be born from the work of this committee. Early indications are increasingly positive. It appears as if both sides are willing to play ball and do what is best for the American people, and it has been a long time since we have seen that type of attitude from our Congressmen and Congresswomen.