QUALCOMM, Inc. (QCOM), Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO): Immigration Reform’s Big Impact on Health Care

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I call this clearly positive because the U.S. faces a physician shortage. The New York Times reported last year that the nation will have nearly 63,000 fewer doctors than needed by 2015, with that number doubling by 2024. A recent research study led by Dr. Candace Chen of George Washington University confirmed that critical physician shortages loom ahead, especially in rural areas.

Current doctors echo these concerns. A 2013 Deloitte survey found that nearly three-quarters of physicians think that fewer individuals will consider a career in medicine. 62% of respondents said that more physicians will retire early because of changes in the practice of medicine.

More investment ideas?
As always, The Motley Fool looks for an investing angle with any story. How can investors take action based on immigration reform’s potential impact on health care?

The best approach would be one that should be successful regardless of whether the bill ultimately becomes law. Focusing on investment alternatives that address the physician shortage issue raised in the immigration reform debate seems to meet that criteria. Even if more physicians from other countries are allowed to stay in the U.S., it won’t be enough to fully solve the problem.

With this in mind, telemedicine offers potential to help by enabling physicians to provide care for patients in other geographical areas. Companies that facilitate effective use of telemedicine should do well over the long run. Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) looks like one good pick. Technology research firm Technavio touts Cisco as one of the key leaders in telemedicine video conferencing. The firm expects the telemedicine video telecommunications market to grow 18% annually over the next few years. Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO)’s Telepresence video conferencing product should rack up big gains if those projections prove true.

QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) is another major player in telemedicine. The company’s QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) Life division markets the 2Net platform that supports end-to-end wireless connectivity between medical devices and clinical professionals. QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) Life counts more than 170 organizations in its 2Net ecosystem, including major medical device makers and electronic medical record systems vendors.

Neither stock appears too expensive right now. Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO) has a forward price-to-earnings ratio of less than 12, while QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM)’s forward multiple stands a little below 13. However, QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) seems to have the better overall growth opportunities, so it could be the better value between the two.

Both stocks also offer decent dividend yields. Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:CSCO)’s dividend yield stands at 2.8%, while QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) isn’t too far behind with a 2.3% yield.

Congress must deal with immigration reform this summer. In the meantime, investors can buy two stocks that help address one of the areas that immigration reform hopes to tackle. Hot topic, hot stocks — I say go with the stocks.

The article Immigration Reform’s Big Impact on Health Care originally appeared on Fool.com is written by Keith Speights.

Fool contributor Keith Speights has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO). The Motley Fool owns shares of Qualcomm.

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