Like some soldiers become conscientious objectors if they end up in an actual military situation, or when over 300 armed government union employees suddenly forgot they had guns while kids were being murdered in Uvalde, healthcare workers, 18.8 million strong just in the US, were more likely to exit the workforce during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unlike the first two, healthcare workers were right to be afraid. 

It was hard to have trust in institutions when the CDC, overwhelmingly career bureaucrats, denied COVID-19 existed, then refused to send COVID-19 tests unless hospitals first proved patients had COVID-19(!), then sent tests with faulty reagents. These career bureaucrats then blamed the president, as if presidents fire the entire CDC each administration, for botching the Control and Prevention part of their name while they were busy raising money promoting prediabetes and youth vaping hysteria instead of planning for the third coronavirus pandemic of the last 16 years that experts knew was coming. 


While it was predictable for the CDC to claim they'd have all the answers (like an ebola vaccine they refused to fund until one case entered the US) if Congress just gave them more money, people on the front lines being told bodies were being stacked up due to lack of ventilators were right to be afraid. A cohort analysis using the Census Bureau's Job-to-Job Flows data found the number of workers exiting from the industry as the pandemic was shown to exist even while WHO and China and career employees inside the US CDC denied it was a pandemic until it was too late. 

Most quit outright in early 2020 while by late 2021 they left to other fields, and they left at rates 30 percent higher than 2018. Healthcare is overwhelmingly female and entry rates into the field by females (and Black employees,. the authors note) were substantially lower. More men and other minorities are fine if we want diversity, so why the authors single out black people for concern is a mystery. It's when Filipinos stop going into healthcare that we have a problem. The Black community trusts government even less than white conservatives so it is no shock they are avoiding jobs where politicians telling them things are fine. Afghanistan was told we were on their side also.

There is a business reason for caution. The medical community can claim to be worried about continuity of care and less experience, but really their worry is the training costs of new people. It's cheaper to pay someone 2% more per year (11% if you are a government union employee in California) than to train a new person. But they have no mechanisms to pay retention bonuses when healthcare is so tightly regulated.(1) More training means higher cost and when many of us are paying 400% more than 10 years ago - and even then companies exit various states because the cost of regulations and doing business are too high - more increases will just mean more people getting subsidies. That means even more inflation.

Obviously, all businesses lost workers during the pandemic. Though the Biden administration is running for re-election using 'biggest job gains since X' verbiage, they leave out that 70% of those 'gains' were filling jobs lost due to companies laying off and going out of business due to lengthy government-imposed shutdowns. 

Healthcare, farming and, as we learned, home delivery were the real vital work forces during the pandemic. Government did little except weaponize the disease to campaign. When colleagues and I wrote The Next Plague And How Science Will Stop It in 2017, coronavirus was mentioned, because there had already been two pandemics this the 14 years prior, but no one could anticipate that China's sloppy safety while mutating viruses to better understand them would go so crazy.

We understand now how bad it can get, and China is still a communist dictatorship, so they aren't going to be any more transparent in the future. That means we want to find a way to keep healthcare workers feeling safe and valued - without driving customers into bankruptcy. 


(1) California lost a governor due to over-regulation of electricity. There were widespread brownouts and he attempted to blame greedy utilities. Consumer groups instead noted that utilities were not allowed to raise rates without state permission, which meant they could not compete in the spot market when demand was high, they were not allowed to sign long-term contracts, and couldn't even own the power lines without state permission.

With health insurance, businesses instead have to exploit 'we take your insurance but can charge anything we want if you are out of network' plus "abide by the contracts with insurance for the preventative service but add anything we want' loopholes to make money. It's impossible to blame companies for doing it when government created the system.