Obamacare, as the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act is widely known, took effect on March 23, 2010, which — though the new and complex law was phased in over several years — means that the wide-ranging health care legislation celebrates its fifth birthday on Monday of this week.
As if to mark the occasion, the venerable financial services firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) has issued a new report, hailing the Obamacare law for what the report calls its unprecedented boon to the health care industry, in the form of opportunities for new start-up companies — and the jobs that come with them.
Specifically, the report by the PWC Health Research Institute names 90 new companies, with 6,200 jobs that would not have otherwise existed, that have appeared as a direct result of economic opportunities resulting from Obamacare.
“Still the subject of intense debate, the Affordable Care Act of 2010 has already left an indelible mark on the $2.9 trillion health sector. By energizing five fundamental shifts over the past five years, the law has given rise to a New Health Economy predicated on value.”
The “intense debate” referenced in the report is sparked largely by Republicans in congress, who have consistently condemned the law for what they call its “job-killing” effects, making dozens of attempts to repeal the law in various votes over the past five years.
But according to the report, and health care experts, Obamacare has not been “job-killing,” but instead has created extraordinary economic opportunities, particularly within the health care industry itself.
“The claim that the Affordable Care Act is a job-killer is just factually untrue,” Bob Kocher, a physician and venture capitalist with the New York investment firm Venrock Associates told Bloomberg News.
Kocher’s company has put its money where his mouth is, investing in eight new health care companies that he says could not have existed without the new law.
The new PWC report follows just one month after another research report by a different financial firm, Fitch Ratings, which found that states taking advantage of the Obamacare provision to expand Medicaid access have seen health care jobs grow 30 percent faster than in states that chose not to expand Medicaid.
According to data from the United States Labor Department, the health care sector added 311,000 new jobs in 2014 — a huge leap from the 203,000 added the previous year.
Much of the job growth results from increased hiring needs due to the rise in numbers of people with health insurance due to the now five-year-old Obamacare law.
[Image: David McNew/Getty Images]