Where Obamacare is spurring a hiring binge

California and other states are signing up thousands of call-center workers to explain the complicated law to consumers.

By Aimee Picchi Jun 7, 2013 8:12AM

Young business woman with her colleagues working in call center (© Daniel Laflor/the Agency Collection/Getty Images)While critics keep pounding the Affordable Care Act, saying it will stifle business and lead to job cuts, in at least one area it's spurring job creation. 

Some states are going on hiring binges, paying workers who can explain the law to consumers. California, for one, is hiring hundreds of workers at three call centers to answer questions when enrollment begins in October, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Granted, this isn't likely to be welcome news for Obamacare's opponents, many of whom are already concerned about government spending and the potential for higher taxes. 

Across the country, 7,000 to 9,000 jobs will be created at 14 call centers, according to the Lawrence Journal-World in Kansas. One of those call centers will be in Lawrence, although, ironically, Kansas is one of the states leaning toward not participating in the law's Medicaid expansion

For job seekers, the new positions are likely to be welcome opportunities. California is also hiring 20,000 "enrollers" across the state who will earn $58 for each person they sign up for health care coverage, the Times notes. 

At one screening exam in Fresno, where the jobless rate is 13.4%, hundreds of people showed up to take the test, which evaluates applicants' basic math and reading skills, as well as their ability to get across the complicated law, the piece says. About 3,000 people have passed the test. 

"It's a heavy lift for any organization to hire literally almost 1,000 people in a year's time," Dana Howard, a spokesman for the state's health insurance marketplace, Covered California, told the LA Times. "But we have the staff on board to navigate this, and so far it's going quite smoothly."

Call-center employees will have their work cut out for them. A huge chunk of Americans -- 42% --  aren't aware of the law's status, while nearly 20% believe it has been either repealed by Congress or overturned by the Supreme Court. 

Meanwhile, some companies -- including Regal Entertainment Group (RGC), the country's biggest movie theater chain -- are reducing employees' hours to avoid paying health care benefits.

Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi

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Jun 7, 2013 8:29AM
Temporary jobs. State and Federal money paying them. Is this even worth an article ?
Jun 7, 2013 10:00AM

Has there EVER been ANY law,.....which necessitated the hiring of thousands of people solely for the purpose of EXPLAINING that law to the American public???? 


The U.S. tax code is 79,000 pages.  They don't hire thousands of people who's sole purpose is to explain tax law to us. 


If a law is THAT poorly written,....THAT cumbersome,.......THAT burdensome,....well,..... 

Jun 7, 2013 9:25AM
Great. More temporary government jobs at a cost of mere trillions by the time we are done. Can't wait.
Jun 7, 2013 10:04AM
how is government bloat positive? how do these jobs positively contribute to the economy? Resdistributing wealth (because my taxes will go up) doesn't spur the economy. It just allows someone else to spend what was once my money...
Jun 7, 2013 10:35AM

Wealth redistribution (communism) at its finest.

Jun 7, 2013 9:14AM
Aimee Picchi continues to demonstrate her ability to absorb a talking point memo from the DNC and regurgitate it in her own words.  Most 6th graders are more than capable of doing the same thing.
Jun 7, 2013 11:30AM
Aimee...you seem to believe creating these jobs is a good thing. I fail to see how paying for these jobs with tax payer's money is good. They are government service jobs that produce nothing, increase the size of government, and increase the burden on taxpayers.
Jun 7, 2013 11:15AM

"At one prescreening exam in Fresno -- where the jobless rate is 13.4% -- hundreds showed up to take the test, which evaluates applicants' basic math and reading skills, as well as their ability to get across the complicated law, the piece says. About 3,000 people have passed the test."


Hundreds show up but thousands passed the test......... does sound like a Democrat thing... you know like voting multiple times.  

Jun 7, 2013 12:00PM

I wonder if these will be part time jobs so they won’t have to be given health insurance.

Jun 7, 2013 11:15AM
Oh great more government jobs. But after all that is the liberal agenda and the whole reason for obocare.
Jun 7, 2013 10:24AM

Wealth comes from creating wealth.  If you believe Obama's former economic adviser, Christina Romer's study GDP declines $3 for every $1 rise in taxes. Taxes are a transfer of money from the private sector to the government. So her study suggests the private sector creates 3 times the wealth with a dollar as the government. Government workers are paid by taxes so no adding more government workers is not necessarily good. 

Jun 7, 2013 10:47AM
I see aimee got her talking points for the day. Nice try honey, but those of us with more than two brain cells know that obamacare is an albatross around the neck of businesses.
Jun 7, 2013 11:15AM
If congress wrote it and didn't even know what was in it, what chance do we have? "If you have insurance where you work, you'll be able to keep your insurance" Maybe? Not sure? Don't really know? What a crock of bureaucratic BS! 85% of what's going to happen already did?  Really? Are you sure? The worst is yet to come. 
Jun 7, 2013 10:46AM

What a dumb article!  The law is sooooo complicated one needs an "expert" to get answers to simple questions!!!!  This is similar to the US Tax Code in which billions of dollars a year are wasted on accountants and lawyers who hire  lobbyists to keep the status quo. 


Using this logic, we could solve the whole employment problem by implementing even more regulation.  Ask any country in Europe right now how that is working out?  EU unemployment is 12.7%

Jun 7, 2013 9:23AM

Here's an example of your tax dollars at work to explain how this disaster know as Obamacare works. How in the hell can they make anything that complicated ?

It only took me 15 minutes online to apply for Social Security.


From the Fresno Bee  April 11, 2013  re: 500 new jobs at a new call center there.


"Recruiters are looking to fill two types of jobs; each pays well compared with what the industry standard has been in the Fresno area. The Program Technician 2 jobs offer a monthly salary between $2,638 to $3,209. The salary for Program Technician 3 jobs will be $2,951 to $3,588 a month. The jobs are not entry-level positions; the job announcements indicate that Program Technician 2's need to have at least two years of experience in government or private industry reviewing and processing detailed technical forms and providing detailed and sensitive information to customers or clients. The higher-level Program Tech 3 jobs call for at least three years of experience and require employees to handle the most complex and sensitive program chores and interpreting state laws and regulations.

It is uncertain when the state will hire any supervising or management positions for the Fresno service center.

In January, California received a federal grant of $674 million to develop Covered California as an online insurance marketplace for individuals and businesses. Some of that money is being used to establish the call centers. Since late 2010, California has received almost $1 billion in federal grants to launch the health-care exchange."


Jun 7, 2013 10:32AM
Didn't need Obamacare to create jobs.  They have always been out there for people who took the time to look for them. . . . so in addition to taking from the elderly and giving to the healthy non-working by choice, our tax dollars will now pay for these Obamajobs, too.   What fun
Jun 7, 2013 11:41AM
Welcome to the" Union of Socialist States of America".USSA here we come........
Jun 7, 2013 11:56AM

One simple question.


One guess, you and me!

Jun 7, 2013 12:09PM
Obamacare is increasing our heath insurance costs. Within the last year, our employer health insurance has gone up 30% and now its going to go up another 7% in August. This is not affordable. Our employer is talking about completely getting rid of health insurance because of the price. I hope they realize the impact before its too late.
Jun 7, 2013 12:09PM
How many businesses are dropping employee hours to around 28 a week to escape Obamacare? Yeah...report on that instead of the temporary government jobs. How many people now have to work 2 jobs because they are no longer allowed to work full time?
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