Healthcare freeze proves it: Politics does matter (sometimes)

Aurora, Ill.-based Rush-Copley plans to open a new emergency center in the Chicago suburb of Yorkville in 2012. The healthcare construction business fell into a deep freeze, though, shortly after national healthcare legislation was passed.

What impact do politicians really have on the commercial real estate market? We hear legislators debating policies and issues. And then it seems as if all this debate and posturing results in nothing.

Don’t tell that to Mike MacKinnon, though. He’s seen the impact that political decisions can have on business.

MacKinnon is director of development for Chicago’s Bluestone Healthcare Partners. He’s fortunate to work in the healthcare sector of commercial real estate, the one sector that seemed pretty much resistant to the economic downturn. During the first years of the recession and its sluggish recovery, hospitals continued to expand, medical centers continued to open and doctors continued to open new offices.

Then the long-awaited Obama healthcare plan became a reality.

And the business stopped.

“The healthcare market froze for about six months in 2010,” MacKinnon said during a recent telephone interview. “After the healthcare legislation passed, no one understood how to interpret what happened. Some thought that portions of it or all of it would be repealed. No one wanted to make any big decisions.”

The market has since thawed. MacKinnon said that he’s now seeing a flurry of activity across the Midwest. People, after all, are still getting older. They’re still getting sick, and they’re still breaking bones.

That six-month slowdown, though, is just one example: Politicians and their policies can have a huge impact on the commercial real estate market. It pays to watch what these legislators do. And it pays, too, to remember those who take actions that put the brakes on the industry’s recovery.

– Dan Rafter

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One Response to Healthcare freeze proves it: Politics does matter (sometimes)

  1. L Charles says:

    So who are you blaming, President Obama or the people who misinterpret the policies, like those who spread the ridiculous false rumors about ‘death panels’ and the false rumor that workers will have to give up the insurance they already have? The way I see it, if more people have insurance, be it private or public, more people will be seeking health care services, especially preventive health care. More people will have a primary care physician and will visit their doctors on a regular basis, typically in leased medical space. People who don’t have insurance wait until they’re too sick, then they go to the ER, which doesn’t help the CRE market at all.

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