Healthcare sector has lots of tailwinds going into 2018

An aging population and the increased life expectancy of people is making healthcare a great place to invest, says Ken O'Keefe, CEO of Beecken Petty O'Keefe.

O'KEEFE: I think the tailwinds are clearly the demographics. The average age of the US is three years older than it was 20 years ago. The average life expectancy is three years longer than 20 years ago and those are good things for healthcare people are living longer and they're older on average than they were 20 years ago. We've obviously got more people insured with the Affordable Care Act question how that changes with the republican administration, the Trump administration but those are pretty good tailwinds and of course you've an industry that is still very fragmented. From a deal making standpoint unlike most industries this is still largely a founder owned at least health care services Mom and Pop industry. That's a big issue and there's a lot of interesting prospects out there around licensure allowing people to perform what they call it at the top of their licensure.
If you have a condition that doesn't require an MD to treat it making sure you go to a nurse practitioner or a physician's assistant. But beyond that the fact is most people agree there's going to be a shortage of about a hundred thousand doctors and nurses in 2025, a hundred thousand. And that's the tip of the iceberg below that you've huge shortages of therapists physical occupational respiratory technicians pharmacy lab X Ray skilled back office and revenue cycle people like coders. There's going to be a big need for additional labor and I think the Wall Street Journal recently said the shortage of labor across a bunch of industries could impact GDP growth by up to 50 basis points in 2025.
That's a great question whether the deal makers are factoring that into the equation. When we look at companies whose growth strategy is predicated on de novo growth, building new centers we're now asking can you find the people to staff those centers? I mean we all read we're at a fully point economy wage growth isn't great but the fact is the headline unemployment number is pretty low and finding people across a lot of industries in particular health care is tough.