A sign at an Affordable Care Act outreach event in Los Angeles, California, September 28, 2013.
Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters

ACA spurs ‘unprecedented’ level of ‘entrepreneurial activity’

Updated
Ask a typical congressional Republican why he or she still wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act and you’ll likely get an economic answer: “Obamacare,” according to the law’s critics, is a “job-killer.”
 
Bloomberg News published an interesting report over the weekend that suggests the right has it backwards.
More than 90 new health-care companies employing as many as 6,200 people have been created in the U.S. since Obamacare became law, a level of entrepreneurial activity that participants say may be unprecedented for the industry. […]
 
The health law, which took full effect in 2014, represents the most dramatic change to the U.S. health system in 50 years. Entrepreneurs, including some from within President Barack Obama’s administration, have founded companies that target employers, health insurers, hospitals, doctors and consumers looking to navigate new requirements and possibilities.
Bloomberg talked to Bob Kocher, a doctor and former Obama adviser who is now a partner at New York-based venture capital firm Venrock Associates. “The claim that the Affordable Care Act is a job-killer is just factually untrue,” Kocher said, adding that the ACA has “created the most enormous opportunity to build health-care companies ever.”
 
The argument from conservatives wasn’t just limited to the health-care sector. The right said “Obamacare” would, of course, undermine job growth throughout the medical system, as well as stunting job growth throughout the economy.
 
We already knew the latter was wrong – the job market’s hot streak started in March 2010, the same month the ACA was signed into law. Last year was the first full year for ACA implementation and it was the best year for American job creation since the ’90s.
 
But we’re also learning that the right underestimated the degree to which the Affordable Care Act would spur “entrepreneurial activity” in the health care sector, too.
 
Repeal the law and you reverse the progress. Indeed, as we discussed in February, over the last 12 months, America’s health care sector has added 342,000 jobs – the best totals for the sector in nearly a decade. 
 
Ceci Connolly, managing director of PricewaterhouseCoopers’s Health Research Institute, told Bloomberg how “striking” it is to see so many entrepreneurs tell her the ACA “has sparked innovation and entrepreneurship.”
 
Derek Newell, the CEO of a company called Jiff, said of the law, “To my mind, it has been an amazing catalyst for job creation and innovation in my segment of the economy.”
 
To put it mildly, these are not the comments Republicans were hoping to hear on the ACA’s fifth anniversary.
 
I’m reminded of a story out of St. Louis a couple of years ago, where a new office opened up to process ACA applications . This in turn created 600 local jobs in Missouri state Sen. Scott Rupp’s (R) district, which seemed rather amusing since Rupp had described the law as “the largest job-killing tax increase in American history.”
 
After the hundreds of new jobs were created for his constituents, the Republican state lawmaker told the local media, “It doesn’t change my view.”
 
I suspect we’ll hear congressional Republicans saying the same thing in response to the new evidence, but the evidence will be true whether it changes views or not.
 

Affordable Care Act and Obamacare

ACA spurs 'unprecedented' level of 'entrepreneurial activity'

Updated