Hospitals are cutting thousands of jobs, just as the nation prepares for Obamacare to kick in.

According to outplacement firm Challenger, Christmas and Gray, there were 8,100 layoffs in health care last month, more than any other sector nationwide.

So far this year, hospitals have laid off more than 41,000 workers due in large part to health care changes taking effect.

“Given all the change in legislation with the Affordable Care Act coming in, the industry is in flux,” John Challenger tells KTRH News.

“The Cleveland Clinic announced plans to reduce its head count by 3,000 due to lower government payments it was receiving under health care reform,” he says.

However, Dr. Vivian Ho at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy believes there are numerous other reasons why hospitals may be cutting back.

“I think hospitals are responding to slowing demand, but they're also becoming more efficient in terms of the care they are delivering,” she says.

And there's good news locally.  Dr. Ho says Houston area hospitals are said to be hiring as they expand into the suburbs.

“I don't think we're experiencing here in Houston as a great a change as the rest of the country simply because our local economy is doing very well,” she says.

Both Challenger and Ho believe whatever cutbacks are being made, will be short-lived as more people begin to seek care in the months and years ahead.