Uber and the gig economy used to love Obamacare. What happened?

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Media Outlet: STAT

Lee Drutman was consulted in a STAT article about why the gig economy leaders that supported Obamacare have retreated from the healthcare debate. 

“At this time, we are conscious of how we are speaking about this topic publicly,” a spokesman for Care.com, an online platform that links caregivers and their families and that partnered with Obama, said in an email.
The gig economy’s advocacy organizations, including the Freelancers Union and the Internet Association, which can sometimes speak more freely than individual companies worried about bad press, declined to comment.
“Health policy really isn’t our deal,” said Noah Theran, a spokesman for the Internet Association, which represents gig economy powerhouses including Uber, Lyft, Etsy, Handy, Airbnb, and Doordash, along with other major technology companies.
Their reticence may have been part of a calculated decision to avoid the health care slugfest that has consumed Capitol Hill since January.
“While they may have a soft preference for keeping the ACA in its current form, they have a much stronger preference for making sure that Republican leaders in Congress are not pissed off at them for opposing [repeal efforts],” said Lee Drutman, an expert on lobbying at the New America Foundation. “Nobody wants to be the one company who gets out there and gets in the crosshairs and bears the brunt of the cost and the potential animosity.”

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Lee Drutman is a senior fellow in the program on political reform at New America. He is the author of The Business of America is Lobbying (Oxford University Press, 2015).