Affordable Care Act bringing jobs to Lawrence

May 16, 2013


Lawrence will be a beneficiary of the federal government's effort to help Americans understand the coverage being made available by the Affordable Care Act.

A yet-to-be-determined number of positions will be added later this year to the Vangent call center in the East Hills Business Park, where operators will assist consumers purchasing insurance in the new online health care exchanges, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has confirmed.

The jobs are a fraction of the 7,000-9,000 positions that will be created this fall nationwide at up to 14 call centers nationwide, some of which, including the one in Lawrence, currently handle Medicare-related queries. Vangent's parent company, General Dynamics Information Technology, was awarded a one-year, $530-million contract to oversee customer service related to the exchanges, renewable for up to nine more years.

The local Vangent call center now has about 650 people on staff, down from 1,500 in 2011, when it was the city's largest private employer. It is in the process of hiring more, however. Candidates can apply on the GDIT website or at a job fair Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lawrence Workforce Center, 2540 Iowa St.

The announcement is an ironic twist of fate for Kansas, as Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and the GOP-led legislature have opposed the Affordable Care Act, often known as "Obamacare," by opting not to, as the measure calls for, set up their own health care exchange or expand Medicaid (the decision on the latter is still up in the air).

In the online marketplaces, which go into effect Oct. 1, consumers and small businesses will be able to shop qualifying private insurance plans and determine whether they're eligible for federal tax credits, which will be automatically deducted from the cost of the coverage.

The jobs are being created to serve residents of the 34 states whose exchanges will be run entirely or in part by the federal government. The other 16 states will have their own call centers. Starting in October, operators will be available by phone and email 24/7.


toe 11 months ago

At least I know where to protest. Looks like simple patronage to the only blue area in the state.


tomatogrower 11 months ago

Everyone should pay 50% of income in taxes? Hmmn A person earns 30,000, they will have 15, 000 left to live on. A person earns 30 million, they will have 15 million left to live on.

Guess who I feel sorry for. Maybe, if the 30 million dollar earner would pay his workers better, I could agree with the 50%, but that's not going to happen until people wake up and form unions again. And don't give me that stupid line about "risk". Yes, a business owner and manager should earn more money, but not at the higher rates that have occurred in the recent past. The only reason they have gotten away with it, because they have busted the unions and created a bunch of unemployment, so people are desperate for jobs. A win win for the rich. And they talked Bushie into a war which made them more profit, and they even got their taxes cut, so they don't have to help pay for the war. Pity the poor rich people. All they want to do is be free to exploit and worship their greed. Christianity is not the US religion - greed and money is.


Stuart Evans 11 months ago

Half a billion dollars a year, just to field questions about this mess? Our government makes me nauseous.


grammaddy 11 months ago

I have no problem paying taxes. My problem is how they are spent.I'd much rather see my tax dollars help someone else get health insurance than watch my money subsidize Big Oil and Bigger Pharma. Much rather see my money used to educate rather than annihilate.


SFFMassSt 11 months ago

The fifty percent victims, like the victim Obama portrays himself as, could careless the rational arguments that Obamacare is unsustainable. The fifty 'centers that have nothing now, may get something or anything at all with this unsustainable Obama mandate, and that for them, is better than nothing...the thought is what counts for victims.


overthemoon 11 months ago

Note that these jobs are being created to deal with states, like Kansas, that failed to come up with their own exchange plan. We could have had a big chunk of our federal tax dollars brought back to Kansas for the benefit of Kansans. Brownback is again part of the cause of increased federal spending because he wanted to look like a good little GOPer and refuse to do what would work most efficiently and effectively for Kansas residents.


bearded_gnome 11 months ago

Mac, I'm surprised you're so foolish. it's far from just Rush opposing this.
for one, try the American College of Cardiologists who stated that obamacare is attacking private practice and the highly valued 'time' that patients get with their doctors.

small business organizations have also cited Obamacare as forcing manyvery unproductive decisions and shorting people on hours to keep them below 30-hours per week. you can find that if you google this very paper recently.

*indeed, the first post is correct, this article is seriously misleading, and vastly overlooks the negative job effects of obamacare.

and, btw, referring to Rush doesn't qualify as an argument, it just makes you look silly and desperate.


Dave Trabert 11 months ago

Every Obamacare job gain is being paid for by Obamacare tax increases at the federal level. Citizens are also paying for these 'job gains' at the state level; billions more in state Medicaid spending comes at the cost of higher state taxes and spending redirected from other services. The health care industry may benefit but any gains they receive come at a steep cost to everyone else.

There is no such thing as free federal money. No government has any money of its own; it only has what collects from taxpayers and redistributes.

Here's a good recap of the new Obamacare taxes for 2013: Note that it starts by saying "The third wave of ObamaCare taxes began on January 1, the latest blitz before the tsunami of changes from the health overhaul law hit in 2014."


roadwarrior 11 months ago

Thank you MacHeath. couples therapy 101: change / change back. When one tries to change a situation, threatening the status quo - the other will try to sabotage any forward momentum to pressure a change back. Insurance companies like their profit margins just fine, they don't want to change, therefore, they have to get US to change back to the status quo by inflicting uncomfortable rate hikes. As the therapist says...even if its difficult, keep moving forward. Its the only way through to a better situation.


weiser 11 months ago

It is comforting to know the IRS will be the watch dogs with our health care status, and ability to levy fines on us. I feel so good about Hussein Care now!


MacHeath 11 months ago

And what will happen at the point of care? Are folks going to rush to doctors offices and hospitals thereby flooding the same with patients, and lower reimbursements? Hell no. Whatever happens, the healthcare/insurance industry will adapt. God knows the system as it is needs some major overhaul.

The idea is that everyone will required to pay into the system that can. Everyones insurance rates will go down. Some folks may have to pay more least I hope so. Perhaps the overall health of the public will improve, thereby saving a lot of money.

This is affordable health care for everyone, not just the "takers" as they are so crudely referred to. Whine all you want to (until your rates go down) it going to happen. I think you will find that healthcare will not go to hell in a hand basket.

Rush is just scared that it is going to work, thereby making him look the fool. What am I saying? Rush never has cared about looking the fool. He enjoys pulling you suckers in to his demented reality. He feeds off your tortured souls.


Richard Payton 11 months ago

They majority of people can't tell you the differences between the bronze,silver,gold and platinum plan. Will Lawrence Memorial have to accept all other state exchange plans even if Kansas isn't on any state plans?


akt2 11 months ago

The Affordable Care Act is not feasible. In real life you need nurses and support staff. It is starting to downhill and hospitals are cutting staff and budgets. Liberty Hospital just laid over 100 off, shut down patient transportation services and the Wound Center. Regardless of what happens in a call center, we need to prepare ourselves for what is about to happen at the point of care.


Karl_Hungus 11 months ago

"To the extent that the government does hiring, every single dollar paid for salaries is taken forcibly -- under threat of imprisonment -- "

Because the people who defend our country are scumbag moochers ("from a person who honestly earned the money") is what you are saying, huh UG.....what a pathetic remark to make!!!

I didn't agree with the war in Iraq but I fully support the troops who served there and let me tell ya, the earned there money as did I back in Bosnia back in 96'

Heck, even defending a person of your character is worth a paycheck, grow up!


2stuffedtojump 11 months ago

And the King shall answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brothers, you have done it to me. We have been shown the way. The way of the Lord can also serve the public utility.


Leslie Swearingen 11 months ago

Well, I imagine that those working out there consider it a job and they get a paycheck which most of them will spend in Lawrence.

You could make the same argument about every city, county, state and federal employee.


Bruce Bertsch 11 months ago

Jobs, despite right wing rhetoric, are created by DEMAND for a product or service. It matters not who creates the demand, whether it is private or public. And for Ultimate..."Taxes are the price we pay for a civilized Society".


kansas_cynic 11 months ago

Seems we have a number of the Rush ditto-heads ranting here today.


SFFMassSt 11 months ago

Pennies from Heaven? Seriously? WOW! Which 50% of Americans are paying for these 9000 jobs? The fifty on the government dole or the fifty percent working middle class? In the old days, it used to be that insurance was procured by calling an insurance company.


UltimateGrownup 11 months ago

This is propaganda from the state, like anything you would read in Pravda in the old Soviet Union. The Giles Bruce byline is neither here nor there. Everyone knows this article is false. The government cannot create jobs or wealth. To the extent that the government does hiring, every single dollar paid for salaries is taken forcibly -- under threat of imprisonment -- from a person who honestly earned the money. Further, Obamacare is having the opposite effect on hiring. Businesses are cutting staff or avoiding hiring people, in part to keep the hours per week under 30 or to keep the number of employees under 50. Finally, these "jobs" are not productive. These people do not prepare food, repair cars, or repair computers. Their job is to take a mop and clean up some of the gigantic messy oil spill that is Obamacare.


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