Investing in healthcare?

A question from Yahoo! Answers:

What healthcare industries would be safe to invest in now if universal healthcare becomes a reality in the future

Healthcare is NOT a safe investment, regardless of whether there is going to be a universal healthcare system. Healthcare companies have numerous risks, from litigation to inability to make the latest product well enough to get it approved by regulators. Healthcare is an incredibly competitive field, too.

Moreover, universal healthcare is supposed to be a good thing for patients, not for providers and suppliers. Most universal healthcare systems in the world have at least one of these two features, (1) the national healthcare system actively uses its sheer size to negotiate the prices down, and (2) at least some healthcare services are provided by public-sector organizations in direct competition (and at lower prices) compared to private providers. Many have both. As a result, healthcare is affordable for the patient, but not particularly profitable for the provider.

One industry that would greatly benefit from introduction of universal healthcare is health policy research and healthcare consulting. Alas, most companies in this arena are either privately held or structured as very small and fairly insignificant divisions of much larger companies (Medstat, for example, is owned by Thomson).

Medical education could benefit as well, but, alas, it is dominated by universities.

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